One of the hardest parts of following a Palaeolithic (Paleo / Wheat Belly / Keto / Ketogenic) diet, is that it’s still really hard to find suitable fast food that is free of complex carbs and grains.
One chain that tries to cater to low-carb dieters is Carl’s Jr Restaurants. Not only do they offer the option of a lettuce wrapped burger, but their focus on quality and service makes the experience of dining there a real treat.
Many fast-food restaurants cook using a standard flat griddle for burgers. Carl’s Jr is different, and pride themselves on only cooking charbroiled burgers, creating a delightfully grilled burger that uses the grated surface of their grills to sear in the flavors and impart a degree of charring which gives the meat a light charcoal smoke flavor.
Conveniently priced at only $7.99 for a Lettuce-Wrapped Thickburger (Chicken Club), not only is it affordable but it only has a total of 370 calories and just 4 grams of sugar. With a total of 7 grams of carbs and 30 grams of protein…it easily takes the prize of being one of the lowest carb fast-food burgers available anywhere in North America.
There are a few other low-carb options, although slightly higher in carbs and calories…such as the lettuce wrapped “Low Carb Six Dollar Burger” (300 calories, 7 total grams of carbs, 5 grams of sugar) and the “Original Grilled Chicken Salad” (411 calories, 14 total grams of carbs, 7 grams of sugar).
What I appreciated about the healthy lettuce wrapped burger at Carl’s Jr is that it had been wrapped very carefully and with multiple lettuce leaves. I find that some fast-food restaurants don’t take the time to properly wrap the burger when swapping the bun for lettuce. If done properly, it becomes easier to pick up and eat, as well as prevent spilling the contents out the back of the burger when you take a bite.
The burger stayed well within my grasp, was incredibly juicy and the ingredients fresh and flavourful. Also, the amount of condiment was perfect, without being too watery or in the wrong order (condiments go in the middle, not bottom). This meant that even until the last bite my fingers didn’t get covered in mayo or ketchup, a typical hazard of eating lettuce wrapped burgers at other fast-food franchises.
Overall I would give this burger at 4.5 out of 5, making it one of the best healthy low carb burger to seek out if you want to stay healthy and improve your diet (I took a half point off because I know their staff should have let me know that I could have ordered a burger with even fewer calories by changing the condiments or removing an item).
One other thing I did like about this fast-food chain is that they try to stay true to their original owner’s vision and values. Much of the standard marketing in their restaurant includes catchy one-liners that help promote a specific mission the founders wished their company to embody.
I was surprised to see the following plaque on the wall at this chain. It gives you a bit of the history of how Carl and Margaret Karcher established the original business, as well as just how important service was to them, as well as their emphasis on offering quality ingredients and menu items that meet or exceed the needs of their customers.
One thing I did find amazing is that Carl’s Jr has an innovative website that allows you to swap ingredients in/out of your order, making a truly customizable paleo-friendly burger. I was able to change the configuration of the “Low Carb Charbroiled Chicken Club”, quickly reducing overall calories by 35%, bringing the total calories from 370 down to 240 calories by simply removing the bacon. You can also do other things on the site to help craft your perfect burger.
For more information click on the URL here: https://www.carlsjr.com/menu/nutritional_calculator
For Carl’s Jr location in Canada click on the URL here: http://carlsjrlocations.ca/
For Carl’s Jr locations in general click on the URL here: https://www.carlsjr.com/locations