How to Eat Low-Carb at Wendy's

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Wendy's is the third-largest hamburger fast food chain in the world, behind McDonald' s and Burger King. Can you drive through Wendy's and not drive out with sky-high blood sugar? You can if you are careful.

Find Information About Carbs

There is a nutritional information brochure at Wendy's, but it won't tell you about custom options such as ordering a burger without the bun. Visiting Wendy's Nutritional Information page you can see the nutritional values for each menu item. For example, if you select a single burger, the components will be listed and you can select each, such as the bun, to see carbohydrates and other values for that component.

You can create an order on Wendy's website and app and customize items, but it doesn't allow you to remove the bun completely for sandwiches. You can check and uncheck vegetables, condiments, and cheese and then select the nutritional information, allergens, and ingredients for your custom choice. Full information on allergens is also available on the nutritional information page.

Ordering Burgers

If you are reducing carbs, skipping the bun for hamburgers will save as much as 33 grams of carbohydrates. The good news is that Wendy's not only gives you the burger in a separate box but sometimes will encase it in leaves of iceberg lettuce, although that may not be consistent for all locations. With single-patty burgers, you can actually pick up the burger (with two hands, and carefully).

The burgers at Wendy's do not contain carbohydrate, so any carbs will come from the condiments. American cheese slices, lettuce, tomato, and onion each have 1 gram of carbohydrate. At Wendy's, ketchup adds 2 grams of carbohydrate and honey mustard sauce 3 grams. The mayonnaise and pickles have zero carbs.

Other Sandwiches

The grilled chicken breast, available in a sandwich, wrap, and on their salads, has no carbohydrates. The home-style, spicy, and crispy chicken breasts are breaded and are therefore higher in carbs. The homestyle breast has 17 grams of carbohydrates while crispy and spicy have 8 to 9 grams.


Salads are usually the mainstay for low-carb eaters. First, it's important to understand the dressings, because there are huge differences between them. Which dressings are offered often change and you may have to check each. For example, the pomegranate vinaigrette dressing is loaded with sugar at 20 grams per packet for the full-sized salads—that's almost 5 teaspoons of sugar. At the other end of the spectrum are the Caesar dressing and the ranch dressing with 4 grams of carbohydrate for the full-size salads and 2 grams for the half-size and side salads.

Wendy's has four meal salads and two side salads on the menu. The side salads (not counting dressing) are 6 net grams of carb without the croutons. You may not be able to customize the meal salads to get their carb count down as they come with high-carbohydrate components. But you can change the Spicy Caesar Chicken Salad to have the grilled chicken breast and no croutons to come in at 13 grams of carb before adding the dressing, which would be another 4 grams for a full packet of Caesar dressing.


Wendy's chicken nuggets have about 2.5 grams of carbohydrate for each nugget. If you get them, add the ranch dipping sauce for 2 carb grams or the sriracha dipping sauce for 3 grams. The other types are significantly more.

Side Dishes

The above side salads are your best bets. The apple slices are a good natural bet with 7 grams of net carbs. You may be disappointed to find out that Wendy's chili has more carb than you'd hope for—probably because some type of sugar appears in the ingredient list six times. Therefore, a small chili has 12 grams of net carb and a large has 18 grams. This still could work on some lower-carb diets.


Your choices are water, diet soda, unsweetened hot tea or iced tea, or coffee. Everything else is basically flavored sugar water.

A Word From Verywell

While no one will pretend that fast food delivers the ultimate in nutrition, with careful choices you can hit Wendy's drive-through occasionally without wrecking your low-carb diet.

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