High Protein Wendy's Options

10 High-Protein Wendy’s Options for Athletes

10 High-Protein Wendy’s Options for Athletes

Wendy’s is a popular fast-food restaurant chain that athletes frequently stop at for a quick meal. It can be helpful for athletes to have ideas of what high-protein Wendy’s menu items can support them with meeting their nutrition needs.

Let’s take a look at the protein needs of athletes. Then we will explore 10 high-protein Wendy’s menu items that athletes can enjoy.

Protein Needs of Athletes

Protein is important in the diet of athletes. It has many essential roles in the body, including supporting athletes with building and repairing lean muscle mass.

To get the most benefit from protein, athletes are encouraged to spread protein intake throughout the day with several meals and snacks. Athletes should aim to consume ~0.25-0.3 grams of protein per kg of body weight at each eating occasion (12). 

In general, this calculates to be in the range of ~25-30 grams of protein at each meal/snack (depending on the weight of the athlete).

In addition, athletes should include protein in their post-workout meal to support their recovery nutrition needs

Building a Healthy Meal

Building a Healthy Meal at Wendy's

In addition to protein, athletes looking to build a healthy meal at fast-food restaurants should focus on including items in their meals that provide a good source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide athletes with the energy needed to perform at their best.

Athletes should also be mindful to select items that are low in saturated fat. Saturated fat is associated with increased inflammation in the body (3). Thus, athletes should aim to limit items high in saturated fat in their meals.

When possible, athletes should also select a healthy side item with their fast-food meal. For example, Wendy’s offers apple slices, salads, and baked potatoes, which can all be nutritious options.

Athletes should aim to include a nutritious beverage with their meal, such as water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice, or unsweet tea, to support their hydration needs.

Finally, athletes should be mindful of portion sizes and resist the urge to supersize their meal. It is better to enjoy the meal in moderation and then have a balanced snack later in the day, if hungry.

10 High-Protein Wendy’s Options for Athletes

All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Wendy’s website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated.  For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Wendy’s website.

A Note on Sodium in Wendy’s High-Protein Menu Items

It is important to note that many of Wendy’s high-protein menu items discussed below are also high in sodium. In general, consuming sodium in the diet can help athletes with replacing the sodium lost in sweat.

However, athletes who have been advised to restrict sodium in their diet should work with a sports dietitian nutritionist to develop an individualized plan for meeting their sports nutrition needs.

High-Protein Breakfast Options at Wendy’s

#1 Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin

The Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin is my top protein-rich breakfast recommendation at Wendy’s.

The breakfast sandwich includes egg, Applewood smoked bacon, and American cheese served on a toasted English muffin.

Since the sandwich is served on an English muffin, it is lower in saturated fat than similar breakfast sandwiches served on biscuits or croissants.

  • Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin: 17 grams protein

Athletes can further lower the fat content of the Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin by ordering the breakfast sandwich without bacon.

Adding Protein to Breakfast at Wendy’s

Athletes can boost the protein content of the Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin at Wendy’s by ordering the sandwich with an extra egg. This will add 7 grams of complete protein to the breakfast sandwich.

Athletes can also order 1% milk to enjoy with their breakfast at Wendy’s. This is an easy way to add 7 grams of complete protein, along with calcium and Vitamin D to the athlete’s breakfast.  

Note: Although Wendy’s has several other high-protein breakfast sandwiches on the menu, they are high in saturated fat. I would prefer athletes order a second Egg and Cheese English muffin or drink milk with the meal for added protein than choose a breakfast sandwich that is high in saturated fat.

High-Protein Wendy’s Chicken Sandwiches, Wraps, and Nuggets

There are a variety high-protein chicken options on the Wendy’s menu. Selecting one of the options below can support athletes with meeting their protein needs.

Wendy's High Protein Chicken Options

#2 Grilled Chicken Wrap

The Grilled Chicken Wrap at Wendy’s is a protein-rich choice. The wrap includes a herb-marinated and grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing wrapped in a tortilla.

The Grilled Chicken Wrap is a great option for athletes looking for a high-protein option to enjoy with their post-game meal or for a quick lunch on-the-go.

  • Grilled Chicken Wrap: 27 grams protein

To help reduce the fat content of the wrap, I would suggest athletes order the ranch dressing on the side. This will allow the athlete to control the amount of ranch added to the wrap.

#3 Classic Chicken Sandwich

Wendy’s offers several varieties of breaded chicken sandwiches on their menu. While I prefer athletes select grilled options, it can be helpful to know which breaded chicken options on the menu are healthier choices.

The Classic Chicken Sandwich at Wendy’s is a high-protein option. The sandwich features a lightly breaded crispy chicken breast served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo.

Similar to the wrap, ordering the sandwich with the mayo on the side can help reduce the fat content of the sandwich.

  • Classic Chicken Sandwich: 28 grams protein

Wendy’s also offers a Crispy Chicken Sandwich on their menu. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich only provides 14 grams of protein. Thus, I would encourage athletes to select the Classic Chicken Sandwich, over the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, for a higher protein option.

#4 Spicy Chicken Sandwich

For athletes that prefer a bit of spice with their meal, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is another protein-rich option available at Wendy’s.

The sandwich includes a breaded chicken breast that has been marinated in a blend of peppers and spices. It comes served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

  • Spicy Chicken Sandwich: 28 grams protein

#5 Crispy Chicken Nuggets

Aside from sandwiches, Wendy’s also offers chicken nuggets on their menu. The Crispy Chicken Nuggets can be an easy way for athletes to add protein to their meal at Wendy’s.

Rather than eating chicken nuggets as an entrée, I would prefer athletes order a smaller quantity of nuggets to eat along with a sandwich, chili, baked potato, or salad.

The Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Nuggets are made with 100% white-meat chicken and served with a choice of dipping sauces.

  • 4 count Crispy Chicken Nuggets: 10 grams protein
  • 6 count Crispy Chicken Nuggets: 15 grams protein
Healthy Dipping Sauce Options

When selecting a dipping sauce to enjoy with the nuggets, athletes should be aware that some of the sauces are high in both calories and fat.

The Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce and Buttermilk Ranch Sauce are both high in calories and fat. Thus, they are less healthy choices for athletes.

Lower calorie dipping sauce choices at Wendy’s include:

  • BBQ
  • Ketchup
  • Sweet & Sour
Wendys Dipping Sauces

High-Protein Wendy’s Hamburgers

Compared to the chicken sandwiches at Wendy’s, the hamburgers tend to be higher in saturated fat. However, if an athlete desires a hamburger at Wendy’s, I would suggest one of the options discussed below.

#6 Dave’s Single®

When ordering a hamburger at Wendy’s athletes should be mindful of portion sizes. I would suggest sticking with Dave’s Single® burger.

The burger includes a quarter-bound of fresh beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mayo on a toasted bun. To help reduce the saturated fat content of the burger, athletes can order it without cheese or mayo.

  • Dave’s Single® Hamburger:  29 grams of protein

At fast-food restaurants, I encourage athletes to avoid stacked meat burgers. Although it increases the protein content of the burger, it also results in a burger high in saturated fat.

For example, Dave’s Triple® hamburger provides a massive 1,160 calories, 81 grams of fat, 34 grams of saturated fat, and 70 grams of protein. 

Although the hamburger is high in protein, it is also extremely high in saturated fat. Thus, I would not recommend ordering this hamburger as a way for athletes to add protein to their diets.

I would much rather an athlete enjoy a fast-food meal in moderation and then have healthy, high-protein snack later in the day.

Healthy Fast Food Meals

#7 Jr. Hamburger

The Jr. Hamburger at Wendy’s can be a simple option for boosting the protein content of an athlete’s meal.

The Jr. Hamburger includes a smaller beef patty topped with pickles, onion, ketchup, and mustard on a toasted bun.

  • Jr. Hamburger: 13 grams of protein

To round out the meal, athletes may consider ordering a side of chili, a salad topped with chicken, or even a second Jr. Hamburger if hungry.

Pro Tip: By ordering a second burger, athletes get the benefit of the added carbohydrates from a second bun. I prefer this option for athletes over ordering a hamburger with double-stacked patties.

#8 Jr. Cheeseburger

Similar to the Jr. Hamburger, athletes can order the Jr. Cheeseburger to add protein to their meal at Wendy’s.

The Jr. Cheeseburger has slightly more protein than the Jr. Burger due to the addition of a slice of American cheese.

  • Jr. Cheeseburger: 14 grams of protein

High-Protein Wendy’s Salads and Sides

Wendy’s has several protein-rich salads and sides that athletes can enjoy as part of their meal.

#9 Apple Pecan Salad

The Apple Pecan Salad is a healthy, high-protein salad option at Wendy’s. The salad includes a blend of lettuce topped with red and green apples, dried cranberries, pecans, blue cheese, grilled chicken, and Pomegranate Vinaigrette dressing.

  • Apple Pecan Salad: 29 grams protein

The Apple Pecan Salad can be a great protein-rich option for athletes to order to-go and enjoy with a meal later in the day.

#10 Chili: High-Protein Side Option at Wendy’s

Wendy's Chili High Protein Option

Wendy’s also offers a hearty, high-protein chili on their menu. The chili is made with ground beef, pinto beans, and kidney beans and can make a great protein-rich addition to an athlete’s meal.

  • Regular Chili: 16 grams protein
  • Large Chili: 22 grams protein

Athletes can boost the protein content of their meal at Wendy’s by ordering a side of chili to enjoy with a sandwich, salad, or nuggets.

Athletes can also order the chili as a topping on a baked potato. This can be a great lunch option for athletes, providing both carbohydrates and protein.

10 High-Protein Wendy’s Options for Athletes

You are now set with 10 high-protein menu options at Wendy’s that can support athletes with meeting their nutrition needs.

For additional sports nutrition tips for dining out, check out my blog on high-protein options at Chick-fil-A.

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About the Author

Mandy Tyler is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. 

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