Whole30-Friendly Fast-Food Options That Won't Ruin Your Diet

No matter what changes or improvements you'd like to make in your life, you start by breaking old habits and building new ones. Spoiler alert: This can be kind of difficult to do, considering habit-building takes tons of discipline. This is the basis of the Whole30 program — participants agree to spend 30 consecutive days essentially transforming their lifestyle by eliminating alcohol, sugar (real and artificial), grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, and sulfites from their diets (via Whole30).

While Whole30 isn't the most challenging food program, it's not the easiest in the world either, requiring plenty of tips and tricks to succeed. In fact, Whole30 has received plenty of criticism. In 2022, U.S. News ranked Whole30 at the bottom of their Best Diets Overall (number 35 out of 40 diets). But the purpose of Whole30 isn't weight loss according to the program; it's self-improvement. By eating unprocessed, healthy foods daily, you're not only improving your physical health, but you're also participating in a seriously awesome act of self-care.

Whole30 participants are encouraged to do a lot of their grocery shopping and cooking to avoid sneaky additives, sugars, or processed ingredients. However, life is unpredictable, and sometimes you find yourself on day 23 of your Whole30 diet at a McDonald's with your friends on an empty stomach. You don't have to starve, and you don't have to ruin all of your progress completely. It turns out that there are lots of Whole30-compliant fast-food orders, and we've listed them here.


As if there weren't already a million reasons to love Chipotle, we've found another one. Chipotle is one of few fast-food chains to have created a meal specifically catered to those following the Whole30 diet. Technically, the Whole30 Chipotle Salad Bowl is only available to order through the Chipotle website or app, but you can easily order it in person if you know the ingredients. Sadly, there are a number of ingredients on Chipotle's menu that are off-limits for Whole30, including rice, beans, cheese, and those beloved salty chips. 

The Whole30 Chipotle Salad Bowl starts with a bed of "Supergreens" lettuce, topped with fajita veggies, tomato salsa, guacamole, and your choice of either chicken, carnitas, or pollo asado. The reason this dish is Whole30 safe is because all of the cooked ingredients (fajita veggies and meats) are made with sunflower oil and are free from non-Whole30 fats like rice bran oil.

Panera Bread

The issue that most Whole30-ers run into when attempting to order fast food is the incredible amount of processed ingredients, especially in salad dressings. Since bread of any form is a no-no, most people will look to the salad menu in hopes of a safe and satisfying order. Unfortunately, most salads at fast-food restaurants are topped with cheese and served with dressings that include tons of sugar, dairy, and processed ingredients. Pro Whole30 tip: Keep a safe salad dressing (oil and vinegar) with you at all times, just in case.

Not all hope is lost! You can always modify your salads, especially at Panera Bread. To stay safe and make sure that you're not ordering a salad made with quinoa, grains, or other off-limit ingredients, TODAY Food suggests going with Panera's classic Greek salad, removing the dressing and cheese, and adding a hard-boiled egg for protein. HealthHearty points out that the chicken in Panera's Green Goddess Cobb Salad contains sugar, so it may not be a Whole30-compliant protein option. To make Panera's Green Goddess Cobb Salad Whole30-approved, remove the bacon, chicken, and dressing.


Surprisingly, fast-food burger joints like Wendy's can be Whole30-friendly as well. Remember, with Whole30, you're forgoing all grains and dairy, which means a regular cheeseburger or even a hamburger is off-limits. The same goes for chicken nuggets or anything fried.

Wendy's serves a Southwest Avocado Salad that can be Whole30 compliant if the cheese, bacon, chicken, and dressing are removed. A list of ingredients shows that Wendy's makes their grilled chicken with a boatload of additives and sugars that are off-limits for the Whole30 program (via Wendy's). While salad is certainly a solid Whole30 option at Wendy's, you can still have something a little more exciting. Order a beef patty without the bun, extra seasoning, or cheese, but you can keep the lettuce, tomato, and onion. Unfortunately, the ketchup will also have to be eliminated due to high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners (via Is This That Food?).


In 2011, McDonald's followed in other fast-food chains' lead and decided to start making their beef patties with, well, actual beef (via ABC News). Thanks to this, the fast-food giant's burgers are now made with "100% pure beef...seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper" (via McDonald's).

As such, a modified burger from McDonald's is totally doable for the Whole30 diet. You'll have to remove the bun and cheese in addition to the ketchup and pickles, which are unfortunately made with preservatives and sugar. Of course, the lettuce, tomato, and onion are safe to eat, and you can still eat plain yellow mustard for some extra flavor. Unfortunately, you won't be able to simply remove the bun from the breakfast items since all of the eggs and breakfast meats are made with butter, according to McDonald's. You also won't be able to enjoy a diet soda since it contains artificial sweeteners. However, a freshly brewed black coffee is always a Whole30-friendly option!

Burger King

At Burger King, the motto is "have it your way," and if your way is the Whole30 way, you should be (relatively) safe. Burger King's website boasts that their "beef patties are made with 100% beef with no fillers, no preservatives, no additives, no nonsense." Therefore, you can order your Whole30 modified burger without fret at Burger King. Simply skip the bun, ketchup, and cheese, and feel free to leave the lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Again, no sodas or beverages at Burger King will work for this diet, but black coffee is always an option if plain water isn't cutting it for you. As with most fast-food restaurants, you might be tempted to order a breakfast sandwich in the same way you'd order a burger (sans bun and cheese), but we wouldn't recommend this. There is a lot of debate as to what really goes into the eggs at fast-food joints. TODAY Food reports that Burger King's breakfast sandwiches are made with "whole eggs, water, xanthan gum, citric acid, medium chain triglycerides and more." The bottom line? Steer clear.


While Chick-fil-A can be very keto-friendly, and many people consider it a healthier fast-food option, their Whole30 options are actually very limited. Unlike fast-food spots like McDonald's or Wendy's, there are no real meat options since Chick-fil-A strictly serves chicken.

Although they offer plenty of grilled chicken items, the Chick-fil-A ingredient list for their grilled chicken nuggets and grilled chicken patties does not comply with Whole30. Despite Chick-fil-A site claiming that their grilled nuggets are made with a "simple marinade of sea salt, lemon, garlic, and herbs," one New York location catalogs an ingredient list containing: apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, modified corn starch, yeast extract, sugar, cane molasses, and more non-Whole30-friendly additives (via Chick-fil-A).

Alas, salad is always your Whole30 friend. You can order the Cobb salad at Chick-fil-A with only lettuce, tomato, and boiled egg. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice on top, and you've got yourself a Whole30 meal.


The good news is that caffeine is totally fine to consume while doing Whole30. However, many people do the Whole30 program to cleanse their bodies, heal their guts, and eliminate inflammatory foods, so if that's your reason for doing the diet, cutting back on caffeine could help. Either way, you can always safely order a black coffee from Starbucks while doing Whole30. When ordering hot coffee, stick with the blonde roast, dark roast, pike place roast, and the clover brewed coffee (via Life Health HQ).

Food-wise, the options are limited since most of their hot menu items are made with either cheese, grains, or artificial ingredients. However, there are a couple of options for you. The Eggs & Cheddar Protein Box works for Whole30, as long as you don't eat the cheese, bread, or peanut butter. Otherwise, it consists of hard-boiled eggs, apple slices, and grapes. Not the heartiest meal around, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Similarly, you can order the Eggs & Gouda Protein Box and eat only the eggs, apricots, and apples. Of course, you're always safe to grab a pack of Starbucks salted almonds.


Despite Subway's notorious slogan, "Eat Fresh," they've garnered lots of hate for the fishy ingredients in their foods. In 2021, a lawsuit was filed claiming that Subway's tuna salad contained DNA from many animals that were not, in fact, tuna. However, the sandwich chain has prevailed nonetheless and remains amongst the top fast-food chains in the country.

However, Subway's menu offers slim pickings for Whole30 eaters. While we know that those foot-longs are clearly off the table, be prepared to forgo all of Subway's meat options as well. Nearly all of Subway's meat options, from cold cuts to chicken strips, contain sugar, wheat, soy, and a whole bunch of preservatives in their ingredient list. You might be able to predict where this is going. You can absolutely order a salad at Subway and still stick to your Whole30 guidelines! Simply ensure that there is no cheese, meats, or dressings.

Five Guys

Five Guys is one of few fast-food chains that offer a lettuce-wrapped burger, making it an ideal fast-food stop for those doing keto or low-carb diets. Moreover, Five Guys serves beef patties made entirely unseasoned, so no worries about added sugars or preservatives (via Five Guys).

Order a hamburger with no bun, wrapped in lettuce, and add any veggie toppings that you'd like — the limit does not exist at Five Guys, and there's no extra charge for extra veggies. No wonder America loves it so much. If you want something a bit easier or less messy to eat, you can order a burger bowl at Five Guys. Technically, it's part of their secret menu, so be very specific when you order since the workers might not know what you mean. Same as a burger, any amount of toppings you'd like, including lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers, and jalapeños. Unfortunately, you will have to skip the ketchup and pickles that add flavor to burgers, but plain yellow mustard can add some much-needed zest!

In-N-Out Burger

Remember, Whole30 means you can eat meat, but you still can't have any artificial ingredients, sugars, or soy, which many fast-food chains use to keep their meat fresh. In-N-Out cites that their burgers are made "using only fresh, 100% USDA ground chuck — free of additives, fillers, and preservatives," leaving you in the clear for Whole30 dining. In-N-Out is a West Coast delicacy and one of those restaurants with a mouthwatering secret menu — if only Animal Style Fries were Whole30 friendly.

In-N-Out's secret menu is actually not so secret since it's posted on their official website. On it is the infamous Protein Style Burger, a beef patty sandwiched between crisp slices of iceberg lettuce instead of the standard potato bun. This item is a huge hit and makes low-carb eating much more effortless. To keep it Whole30, order the Protein Style Burger (with up to four beef patties) with no cheese and no ketchup. However, feel free to add plenty of tomatoes, onions, and mustard. 

Shake Shack

As you may have already guessed, one of the only things you can eat at Shake Shack that is Whole30 compliant is a...drumroll please...a modified burger. Shake Shack burgers are a step above the competition and made from 100% all-natural Angus beef, free of antibiotics and other icky additives (via Shake Shack). However, their custom burger blend remains a coveted secret (via Eater). 

Our modified Whole30 Shake Shack burger order will contain no bun, no cheese, no ketchup, or ShackSauce. However, it might break your heart a tiny bit to know you can't sip frothy milkshakes in between burger bites. Whole30 or not, lettuce, tomato, and onion are the backbone of all good burgers, but they can get boring and repetitive, especially when you're already restricting yourself. Here's a golden nugget of information: Shake Shack offers fresh avocado as an add-on to any of your burgers! That's something most other fast-food chains can't say, so Shake Shack might be the best option if you've got options. 

Zoë's Kitchen

It may not come as a surprise that Zöe's Kitchen sports what might be the most Whole30-friendly menu of all fast-food joints. Zöe's Kitchen is a fast-food chain specializing in serving up the Mediterranean diet in a fast casual setting. Rather than greasy burgers and french fries, their menu boasts nutritious yet mouthwatering meals like grilled steak and mushroom sandwiches, basil pesto hummus platters, harissa salmon pitas, and so much more.

Although the Zöe's Kitchen menu screams healthy, that doesn't mean every item is Whole30-friendly. For example, you won't be able to have any pita bread, hummus, or dairy-based sauces like tzatziki. Because the menu at Zöe's Kitchen features a huge variety of salads, cooked veggies, and clean protein choices, the potential Whole30 options here are abundant. These items can include wholesome meals like salmon and shrimp kebobs, roasted vegetables, potato salad, Mediterranean chicken, and even Whole30-friendly sauces (via Restaurant Business)!