Characterized by a high-protein, low-carbohydrate configuration, with an emphasis on lean meat and leafy greens, the Dukan diet may not seem the easiest to combine with fast food. The diet's four phases are organized rigidly, with the most restrictive, the Attack phase, consisting solely of lean meat and oat bran. Not likely a lifestyle you'd assume compatible with a trip to your local drive-through. Fortunately, as the diet progresses and you move into the Cruise, Consolidation, and Stabilization phases, your options are broadened as a wider array of foods are permitted, allowing for variations on a vast array of your favorite guilty pleasures.
Whilst it may seem contradictory to seek out fast food on such a strict diet plan, there are times when we simply need the convenience, speed, or, frankly, the enjoyment that fast-food franchises offer. No diet, no matter how restrictive, should mean that you have to completely rule out something you enjoy. Rather, it's about finding a compromise and eating food that keeps you happy whilst ensuring you can still reach your goals. The simplest way to work out what you can include whilst on the Dukan diet is to consult the list of 100 foods the diet allows, but, to take out some of the guesswork, we've compiled a list of the best fast food options that will provide you with the flavors you want, without the setbacks you don't.
Chick-Fil-A's Grilled Chicken Nuggets
The Attack phase of the Dukan diet is undoubtedly tough. There are only so many ways to eat a steak before the whole process becomes a little daunting. For a comforting treat that won't kick you out of the ketosis process the Attack phase aims to create, Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken nuggets are a safe, and tasty, bet. Comprising purely of fresh, lean chicken breast, the macros of these bite-sized pieces of juicy goodness speak for themselves, with 25 grams of protein to keep you satisfied, and a minimal amount of fat at just three grams.
Low fat doesn't, however, mean low flavor. On the contrary, not frying these nuggets works not only in favor of your health but also your tastebuds. Grilling the freshly marinated breast evokes a deep and smoky flavor, so you can get that back-yard barbeque taste while staying on track. Moreover, once you move into the second stage of the diet, you can pair these delicious morsels with an array of sides, turning this unsung hero into a tasty meal.
Chipotle's Build Your Own Burrito Bowl
With the introduction of an array of vegetables to be eaten alongside meat and a limited amount of dairy, the Cruise phase offers the perfect opportunity for a visit to Chipotle to curate the diet-friendly, happiness-inducing package of goodness that is the Burrito Bowl. Now, naturally, to keep this Dukan compatible, you will need to omit the rice and beans and swap them for fajita vegetables and romaine lettuce, but beyond that, your creation is your own. Since the Dukan diet encourages a high intake of protein, you are free to double-up, mix and match, and go all out with your choice of meat, before topping your bowl off with a helping of fresh tomato salsa. With no compromise on the varying flavor combinations that Chipotle is rightfully famous for, you won't even realize the rice isn't there.
Chipotle's website also makes it easier than ever to track your macros whilst putting together your dish. Use its nutrition calculator to accurately monitor the amount of carbs, protein, and fat in your bowl, or filter ingredients by nutrition preference. The keto filter, on account of its low-carb stats, will likely set you on track to pick toppings that work in tandem with the Dukan diet.
Five Guys' Lettuce Wrap
If you've taken on the Dukan diet, then you've probably come to terms with the fact that a burger is off the menu. Not at Five Guys. Indeed, in case you need one more reason to love America's favorite burger chain, revel in the fact that you can swap the conventional wheat buns for romaine lettuce, instead. Whilst the option is not listed on the menu, simply ask in-store or click on the 'No bun' option when ordering directly through the Five Guys website. Whether or not this remix satisfies the typical idea of what makes a burger, rest assured that it will satisfy all else. For the star of the show has to be Five Guys' fresh, hand-formed ground beef patties, served sizzling off the grill. Meanwhile, crisp and refreshing lettuce leaves mean you can enjoy this hand-held treat in the same way you ever have, whilst enjoying an all-around healthier version at just 305 calories.
Plus, you can load up on vegetable-based toppings for a more authentic burger experience, or indulge in a layer of crispy bacon, which won't put you off track at just 50 calories and five grams of fat per two pieces. For those of you still in the Attack phase of the diet, Five Guys also gives you the option of being served your burger in a box. So, no matter what stage you're at, you can still enjoy that signature juicy Five Guys taste.
Subway's Tuna Salad
Subway's wide array of choices has made the chain an increasingly popular choice in recent years, and for followers of the Dukan diet, it is easy to see why. Subway offers both the convenience of delicious readily available salads and the comfort of customization, with a generous selection of toppings to choose from, meaning you can enjoy your favorites or put together your own creations, with both meat and vegetarian options available.
Indeed, Subway's No Bready Bowls provide the comfort of the flavors you know and love by simply swapping the bread from their most popular sandwiches, such as the Meatball Marinara and Big Hot Pastrami, for a bowl, whilst the selection of salads available provides the opportunity for curating your ideal lunch. For an ideal Dukan diet lunch, the tuna salad is arguably one of the top choices. Tuna offers itself as a great source of lean protein and essential omega-3 oils, while sharp red onion, juicy tomatoes, and bittersweet green bell pepper ensure the salad is anything but dull. With just 10 grams of carbs but an impressive 35 grams of protein, this bowl is sure to keep both your stomach and tastebuds satisfied.
Starbucks' Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites
The Dukan diet allows coffee without added sugar, meaning you don't have to forgo your Starbucks run to stay on track. The majority of food on offer at Starbucks is relatively carb-heavy, the Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites won't put you off course with just 11 grams of carbs. Cooked using the French "sous vide" technique, these smooth and velvety bites, packed with spinach and fire-roasted red peppers, provide a touch of luxury to your regular coffee run.
Other variations on these protein-packed snacks are available, with Kale and Mushroom also serving as a solid choice for a Dukan-friendly snack, but these particular egg bites prove themselves the best choice on account of their macros. The cottage cheese used in the bites is non-fat, and while the Monterey Jack cheese is not especially reduced-fat, this snack can certainly be worked into the diet accordingly, given that the overall fat content of just 8 grams per two bites. To complete your coffee break without straying from your goals, our round-up of keto-friendly Starbucks drinks will provide you with the best low-carb options to keep you feeling energized.
Jersey Mike's' Sub Bowls
No doubt, salads are the go-to for a Dukan diet-approved meal. After all, the diet permits a considerable amount of vegetables after the Attack phase and thus allows a wider range of combinations. However, there are times when a cold salad just doesn't hit the spot, and that's when Jersey Mikes offers a tasty alternative. Known as Sub Bowls on the menu, all sandwiches, hot or cold, are available without bread, so you can still enjoy that freshly-cooked taste and comforting warmth without compromise — and, in fact, 290 fewer calories.
The flexibility on offer here means you have plenty of options to choose from, though we've compiled a ranking of the top choices to help you decide. An ever-popular choice, the Roast Beef and Provolone sub works excellently in a tub, on account of the high quality of the tender roast beef that is arguably on par with the meat you might find in a reputable deli. For maximum tastiness, ask for your bowl "Mike's Way." Your sandwich artist will top your dish with sliced tomatoes, onions, oregano, olive oil, and vinegar, all of which are perfectly fine to consume on the Dukan diet. There truly is no need to compromise on flavor.
Panda Express' Black Pepper Angus Steak
For something a little different, Panda Express has you covered. The Black Pepper Angus Steak is a tasty alternative to a leafy green salad, featuring toasty, wok-seared steak, green beans, onions, red bell peppers, and mushrooms, all seasoned with a delicious umami black pepper sauce. By its very nature, this dish is low in fat, carbs, and calories, with an entire serving totaling just 180 calories, 10 grams of carbs, and just seven grams of fat.
Of course, to keep this meal Dukan-friendly, you will need to forgo sides such as rice or noodles until the latter half of the consolidation stage, although the mixed vegetable medley consisting of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, string beans, and cabbage is a perfectly fine alternative if you're looking to add more volume to your meal without the carbs. However, if you are really missing the consistency of noodles, grab yourself a pack of Shiritaki noodles from the supermarket and serve them up alongside your entree to replicate the original takeaway experience. Shiriatki is acceptable from the Attack phase, so these handy fibrous noodles are something to consider if you're struggling to build a balanced plate.
McDonald's Sausage And Egg Muffin
If you're looking for a quick and easy breakfast on the go, McDonald's offers a warm and delicious choice. Suitable from the Attack phase, the sausage and egg muffin without the bread offers two great sources of protein totaling 17 grams to help keep you satisfied all morning, though at just 260 calories you can certainly double up for a heartier breakfast on the mornings you need more of a boost.
Seasoned with an array of spices and rosemary extract, the sizzling pork patty is undoubtedly the star of the show here, but as you move into the consolidation and stabilization stages, possibilities are extended and you can stack your toppings up. Switch it up by trying the bacon and egg muffin, or elevate your existing breakfast by opting for the sausage and egg muffin with melted cheese for a truly tasty, warm, and comforting breakfast. Whatever you decide to go for, you can find the specific macros for your personalized meal with McDonald's nutrition calculator online, which offers arguably one of the most accurate and personable means of calculating calories, with in-depth information about each ingredient and modified calorie information including menu items with ingredients removed.
Dunkin Donut's Snacking Bacon
One of the hardest parts of any low-carb diet is finding snacks that are low in sugar and starch but still filling. Though particularly hard in the Attack and Consolidation phases of the Dukan diet, it can remain difficult to find snacks that help you maintain stability in the Consolidation phase of the diet, which is aimed at helping you maintain your weight by reintroducing sources of carbohydrates slowly and tentatively. It is recommended that you continue to focus on eating predominantly protein and non-starchy vegetables, and Dunkin makes this far easier with its crispy, moreish snacking bacon.
Suitable in both the Consolidation and Stabilization phases, when non-lean pork is permitted, this delicious protein-packed snack, smoked with natural cherrywood, serves as the perfect alternative to chips, helping you stay on track and manage your appetite throughout the day. With eight pieces at 190 calories and conveniently served in a paper sleeve to prevent a mess, these little rashers of tastiness are great for on-the-go, so you won't find yourself caught out if you haven't meal prepped for those unavoidable hunger pangs.
Taco Bell's Power Bowl
Whilst classic Mexican-inspired dishes such as tacos, quesadillas, and burritos may be off the menu until you reach the Stabilization phase of the Dukan diet, you need not rule out Taco Bell entirely, as the chain offers high-protein, low-carb options that are suitable even in the earlier stages of the diet in the form of Power Bowls. These loaded pots of familiar goodness are available with both chicken or a vegetarian option, with both choices remaining under 500 calories once beans and rice are removed, and an array of crunchy and fresh vegetable toppings to complete the experience.
Moreover, while during the slightly limited Cruise phase, you might find that you often have to opt for your salad without dressing, this is not the case with Taco Bell, which uses reduced-fat sour cream in its bowls for an accessible yet flavorful choice. Once you move into the Consolidation phase you can begin to introduce starches into your diet, with one serving a week permitted in the first half of the phase and two servings in the second half. Nutritious and fibrous sources of carbohydrates such as rice and black beans are a great choice for bringing these nutrients back into your routine, and so Taco Bell's power bowls are a dish to keep in mind even as you enter the final, and more lenient, stages of the diet.
Panera Bread's Green Goddess Cobb Salad
A continued popular choice for Panera visitors, the Green Goddess Cobb Salad shatters any notions of a chicken salad being mundane. Panera lets you pick from juicy and lean chicken breast, smoky and tender pulled chicken, or seared and succulent chicken thigh, all seasoned with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, alongside a wide range of optional extras including cucumber, edamame, olives, and peppers. The Green Goddess Cobb is truly what you make it.
In the Cruise phase of the diet, you'll need to remove the bacon and avocado to avoid additional sources of fat, but the hard-boiled egg, sourced from cage-free chickens, ensures that these omissions do not compromise the sustenance of the salad. The combination of romaine lettuce and mixed greens provides varied textures, whilst the sharpness of pickled red onion, complimented by sweet baby tomatoes, adds another dimension of flavor. Indeed, even with adjustments made to keep this salad Cruise phase-friendly, it is anything but boring, with a further option to add basil and cilantro. In the later stages of the diet, the bacon, smoked with deliciously sweet applewood, avocado, and dressings can be incorporated, alongside a tantalizing selection of cheeses and nuts for a wholesome and fulfilling lunch with 480 calories and an impressive 37 grams of protein.
Jack In The Box's Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
Comprised of grilled chicken strips, shredded carrot, and tender broccoli, all tossed in an inviting sweet and savory teriyaki sauce made with ginger and soy, Jack in the Box's Teriykai Chicken Bowl is an appetizing, fresh alternative to the chain's fried counterparts. With a hint of invigorating spice, the dish is a great option for those looking to adjust their usual chicken salad whilst keeping in line with their goals, for the bowl contains 34 grams of protein, minimal fat at just six grams, and 630 calories. Removing the rice, however, which you will need to do if you are still in the Cruise phase of the diet, will shave off around 250 calories.
Jack in the Box also offers a side salad made with crispy romaine lettuce and baby plum tomatoes, which serves as the perfect addition to this entree for a more satisfying meal. It's also useful to remember that the Dukan diet permits sodas so long as they are sugar-free, so you are welcome to wash down your meal with a classic, sweet lemonade made with zero sugar, for a truly refreshing experience.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.