20 High-Protein Fast-Food Meals To Keep You Energized

Fresh tortilla wraps with chicken and fresh vegetables on plate


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front view of many delicious juicy hamburgers with meat cutlet and vegetables

Protein All the Whey

In today's fast-paced world, finding time to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal three times a day can be a challenge. While most of us probably wouldn't count on fast-food chains to deliver a protein-rich meal, some chains offer healthier options that can be nutritious, high in protein, and easy on your wallet. Whether you're on the hunt for a hefty post-workout meal or just looking for a healthier option in general, these high-protein fast-food meals are sure to hit the spot. 

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich

1. High-Protein Meal at Chick-fil-A: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Calories: 390 | Protein: 28 grams

For a hearty option that still packs plenty of flavor, you can't go wrong with Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken sandwich. Dig into a lemon herb marinated and grilled chicken breast on a toasted multigrain bun with leafy green lettuce and tomato. If you're feeling wild, you can order it with the honey-roasted barbecue sauce, which is one of our favorite fast-food sauces.

If you're looking for straight-up carb-free protein, there's also Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken nuggets, which offer 25 grams of protein with the 8 count. Or you could opt for the market salad with grilled chicken for 28 grams of protein.

Taco Bell: Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme
Taco Bell

2. High-Protein Meal at Taco Bell: Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme

Calories: 340 | Protein: 19 grams

This scrumptious burrito consists of seasoned all-white meat chicken, warm nacho cheese sauce, crispy red strips, juicy ripe tomatoes, and tangy guacamole all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. With an impressive 19 grams of protein per serving, this burrito is a great choice for those looking to fuel their bodies with protein while still enjoying a satisfying meal.

Related: The Healthiest Taco Bell Items, According to Redditors

McDouble Cheeseburger at McDonald's

3. High-Protein Burger at McDonald's: McDouble

Calories: 380 | Protein: 23 grams

Don't sleep on Mickey D's just because it seems unhealthy. Made with two 100% beef patties and topped with melted cheese, the McDouble provides a substantial source of protein to support muscle growth and repair — while helping you stay full and energized. The sesame seed bun and condiments (ketchup, mustard, and pickles) help add flavor and variety to the sandwich. 

Subway Grilled Chicken Bowl

4. High-Protein Meal at Subway: Grilled Chicken Protein Bowl

Calories: 200 | Protein: 35 grams

If you're craving Subway, but would rather skip the carbs of a Footlong, consider the chain's protein bowls, also known as No Bready Bowls. Each of Subway's protein bowls offers a bread-free spin on many of Subway's popular sandwiches, including the popular grilled chicken. The bowl includes grilled chicken, your choice of cheese, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, black olives, and green peppers — all of which can be customized to your heart's content.

Starbucks Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

5. High-Protein Sandwich at Starbucks: Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

Calories: 230 | Protein: 18 grams

Made with a cage-free egg white patty and reduced-fat turkey bacon, this Starbucks breakfast sandwich packs a punch while providing a source of high-quality protein. The reduced-fat cheese and whole grain English muffin add healthy fats and fiber to the mix to make this sandwich a more balanced and nutritious option for anyone hoping to up their protein intake.

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Burger King

6. High-Protein Burger at Burger King: Whopper (No Mayonnaise)

Calories: 610 | Protein: 35 grams

The Burger King Whopper is another beloved classic that can provide a good source of protein. Comprised of a flame-grilled beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and condiments, the Whopper provides a substantial source of protein post-workout or whenever you're in need of a hefty meal to keep hunger at bay — just be sure to skip the mayonnaise to keep it a tad healthier. 

Chicken salad

7. High-Protein Fast Food at Arby's: Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad

Calories: 230 | Protein: 22 grams

Packing the same amount of protein as a McDouble, Arby's doesn't just have the meats — they also know how to make a mean salad. Made with a generous portion of roasted turkey, mixed greens, cheddar cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, and croutons, this salad is tossed in a savory red wine vinaigrette dressing. The greens, cheese, and tomatoes provide a variety of nutrients — including fiber, vitamins, and minerals — while the turkey provides lean protein to help you bulk up and stay energized. 

Preparing Steak Sandwich with Roasted Bell Pepper and Arugula

8. High-Protein Sandwich at Panera Bread: Steak and Arugula Sandwich

Calories: 500 | Protein: 24 grams

Panera's steak and arugula sandwich is as delicious as it is (somewhat) nutritious. Featuring sliced steak, tangy balsamic glaze, and fresh arugula served on a toasted baguette, this meal is a quick and convenient high-protein option that will fill you up. With its generous portion of steak and arugula providing a boost of vitamins and antioxidants, this sandwich is definitely worth a try. 

Note: Some Redditors have pointed out that the steak and arugula sandwich may not be on the regular Panera menu, but they suggest modifying another sandwich to recreate it or you can still order it through the catering menu.

Tasty Hotdog with souce isolated on white

9. High-Protein Meal at Shake Shack: Chicken Dog

Calories: 310 | Protein: 24 grams

If you're thinking: "Yuck, a chicken dog," bear with me for just a second: Shake Shack's chicken hot dog is not only low-carb and high in protein, it's also pretty darn good. Made from 100% antibiotic-free chicken, this hot dog provides a source of lean protein for anyone looking to boost their intake of amino acids. It works for a pre- or post-workout snack, or simply a tasty lunch or dinner. 

Whole grilled chicken with vegetables in a frying pan

10. High-Protein Meal at Boston Market: Quarter White Meat Rotisserie Chicken With Steamed Veggies

Calories: 270 | Protein: 43 grams

Made with 100% natural, antibiotic-free chicken, this dish is a rich source of high-quality protein. Boston Market's quarter chicken is slow-cooked on a rotisserie to create juicy, tender meat infused with seasonings and herbs. Rotisserie chicken is also a versatile and affordable option for busy shoppers or anyone looking to cut back on their grocery bill. 

Food Photos - Various Entrees, Appetizers, Deserts, Etc.

11. High-Protein Salad at Wendy's: Apple Pecan Salad

Calories: 450 | Protein: 33.2 grams

This fan-favorite features a mix of crisp greens, juicy red apples, crunchy pecans, and crumbled blue cheese topped with grilled chicken breast for a boost of protein. The combination of fresh, crunchy ingredients and grilled white meat chicken makes this salad a delicious and healthy choice for a post-workout boost.

Related: Where to Find Plant-Based Fast Food

Chipotle: Lifestyle Bowls
Chipotle Mexican Grill

12. High-Protein Bowl at Chipotle: Steak Salad Bowl With Fajita Veggies, Guacamole, and Chili-Corn Salsa

Calories: 255 | Protein: 25 grams

Ditch the rice for a bed of leafy greens with this steak bowl from Chipotle. Topped with marinated steak, sautéed fajita veggies, guacamole, and chili-corn salsa, this well-rounded meal will keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. The steak provides a rich source of lean protein, while the fajita veggies serve to add a burst of flavor and nutrients. Yum on all accounts. 

You also might consider the High Protein Bowl at Chipotle, which packs a walloping 82 grams of protein mostly thanks to double chicken, black beans, and cheese.  

Caprese lunch bowl with grilled chicken

13. High-Protein Salad at El Pollo Loco: Double Chicken Avocado Salad

Calories: 430 | Protein: 54 grams

As part of El Pollo Loco's "Pollo Fit Menu," this hearty salad can be customized to your dietary preferences. The dish features lettuce, corn, chopped chicken, avocados, pico de gallo, cotija, and creamy cilantro dressing, though any ingredients can be removed when ordering. The salad packs a whopping 54 grams of protein, and will leave you feeling full well beyond lunch.

KFC Classic Chicken Sandwich

14. High-Protein Fast Food at KFC: Classic Chicken Sandwich

Calories: 620 | Protein: 34 grams

Listen, we're not saying KFC's Classic Chicken Sandwich is the healthiest high-protein meal on this list. At 620 calories, it packs a punch. Still: If you're looking for a quick bite that helps hit your daily protein intake, this sandwich will do the trick. Served on a brioche bun, the sando boasts all-white chicken breast meat, pickles, and mayo. Simple.

Pasta Carbonara With Chicken

15. High-Protein Pasta at Domino's: Chicken Carbonara

Calories: 690 | Protein: 30 grams

While salads and sandwiches dominate this list, pasta has a role to play, too. Domino's chicken carbonara pasta features both bacon and chicken, lending plenty of protein to this cheesy dish. Who says you have to order pizza at a pizza chain? 

Dunkin' Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich

16. High-Protein Sandwich at Dunkin': Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Calories: 470 | Protein: 23 grams

Dunkin' may be synonymous with doughnuts, but you can pick up a healthier, more protein-packed meal for breakfast at the coffee chain. This breakfast sandwich has 23 grams of protein, which comes from the juicy turkey sausage and fried egg. Paired with American cheese on an English muffin, it's a grab-and-go meal that'll keep you fueled all morning.

Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Jack in the Box

17. High-Protein Meal at Jack in the Box: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Calories: 500 | Protein: 33 grams

Sourdough bread takes center stage here, but it's the grilled chicken fillet that will satisfy your protein needs. The sandwich also features lettuce, tomatoes, and the chain's Good Good sauce, though you can customize it to your liking when ordering.

Whataburger Cobb Salad

18. High-Protein Salad at Whataburger: Cobb Salad With Grilled Chicken

Calories: 430 | Protein: 44 grams

Eggs, bacon, and the addition of grilled chicken, Whatachick’n, or spicy chicken fillet give this salad the protein boost it needs. Like a traditional cobb, the dish also includes lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and grape tomatoes, plus your choice of dressing.

Subway Italian

19. High-Protein Fast Food at Subway: The Beast Footlong

Calories: 634 | Protein: 80 grams

You could have one of these footlong sandwiches and be set with your protein goals for the day. The monster sub is packed with pepperoni, salami, turkey, ham, and roast beef, along with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, mayonnaise, and MVP vinaigrette. You will be tempted to get one of Subway's white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with your sandwich. We'll leave that decision up to you.

panda express grilled chicken teriyaki
Panda Express

20. High-Protein Meal at Panda Express: Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Calories: 300 | Protein: 36 grams

There are plenty of unhealthy options on the Panda Express menu, but the grilled teriyaki chicken seems to be a solid choice if you're trying to load up on protein. Thick slices of grilled chicken accompany a sweet and sour teriyaki sauce. Just be aware that this dish has a hefty amount of sodium in it.

Friends and fast food

Does Fast Food Still Have Protein?

Fast food is often associated with high calories, fat, and sodium, but it can also serve as a reliable source of protein, especially if you're looking for an inexpensive meal on the go. Whether you're on a high-protein diet or just looking to boost the amount of protein you consume, these options for fast food with high protein can help you meet your daily protein goals and are generally (though not always) healthier alternatives to other fast-food items. 

However, it’s important to note that fast food should not be the primary source of protein in your diet. A balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to maintaining good health. If you plan to follow a high-protein diet for an extended period of time, be sure to consult your health care provider as there can be long term risks associated with high-protein diets that limit carbohydrates, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Related: Need a High-Protein, Low-Calorie Snack To Stay Energized? Here Are Some Fan Favorites, According to Redditors