Ask the Dietitian: 'Are There Gut-Microbiome Friendly Fast Food Options?'

Ask the Dietitian: “Sometimes fast food is my only option. What should I stick to?”

By Kristin Neusel, MS, RD, LD, CDCES

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where there is no choice but to grab something at a fast-food restaurant.

If you are following a gut-microbiome diet, you already know that fast-food items are high in fat, sodium, and sugar.

If you are somebody who takes Pendulum Akkermansia and is vigilant about maintaining your gut health, stopping by a fast-food restaurant is not the end of the world. 

So, how can we make the right choices when in a bind?

Plan before you go!

    If there is a fast-food restaurant you typically prefer, check out their nutrition information online before you go.

    If there are more than 25 establishments of the same restaurant, it is mandated they provide nutrition information to their customers.

    You can then look for foods higher in fiber, and lower in fat, sodium, and sugar. 

    No time to plan?
      To quickly find out the nutrition content of the food you’re about to eat, download the Calorie King app or keep the Calorie King booklet in your car’s glove compartment, purse/bag, or use the app on your phone.
        Look for words like
          Steamed, poached, roasted, grilled, baked, broiled, blackened, made to order. Avoid words like: crispy, fried, breaded, sautéed, buttery, cheesy/au gratin, gravy, creamy. 
            Go for green salads over greasy burgers

              Add some lean protein like grilled chicken to it.

              Opting for whole and natural foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole-grains is always the better choice. These will provide you with fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and also helps healthy gut bacteria thrive. 

              Fast-food favorites:
              • Chick-fil-A: Pick the grilled chicken nuggets (140 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates) with a “superfood” side option.
              • McDonald’s: Southwest Grilled Chicken salad without dressing provides 27 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber. Add some low-fat balsamic vinaigrette for only 5 grams of carbohydrates.
              • Chipotle: Snag a salad bowl (romaine lettuce + chicken + brown rice + fajita vegetables + tomato salsa + tomatillo-red chile salsa), which provides 48 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber. 
              • Subway: A 6-inch rotisserie chicken on 9-grain wheat (tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, red onion, cucumbers, and green peppers) has 40 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber.
              • Taco Bell: Opt for the Vegetarian Double Tostada, which provides 32 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber.

              Don’t see anything here that satisfies? Pendulum Akkermansia customers can chat with me to get personalized recommendations!

              Also, be sure to  follow Pendulum on social media at the following places:






              Interested in submitting a question to Kristin? Email it to her at and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!


              Sign up to receive healthy-living tips and exclusive offers.