Happy New Year! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
We’ve previously discussed how to approach going out to eat while avoiding soy. Both asking about food at a restaurant and making smart choices in where you go out to eat can help make it easier to find soy-free meal options. What about fast food? Fast food tends to be more processed, but it is also more common for fast food restaurants to publish allergen menus that make it easier to identify what you can or can’t eat. Since fast food restaurants are so prevalent, it is a good idea to have a sense for which places offer food that is soy-free and which don’t. Having a few go-to fast food meal options that you know are soy-free can help when traveling or when you are part of a larger party looking for some quick and easy food options.
Before ordering at a fast food restaurant, always check for an online allergen menu! Identify a couple of items on the menu that you think are likely soy-free and then look up their ingredients online using your phone. There are usually two main areas to watch for: oil and bread (including breading on chicken). Fast food restaurants often use soybean oil for frying, and their bread often contains soybean oil (or soy lecithin) because it is mass-produced. At more traditional fast food places, choosing something that minimizes the use of bread and oil (for example, a salad without dressing) will likely be your best bet. That being said, don’t be afraid to look up other types of food as some chains don’t use soybean oil or use soy-free bread. Checking the allergen menu will help you identify what you can choose and what you should avoid.
It is a little easier to find soy-free options at “Fast casual” places when compared to traditional fast food places, but they aren’t necessarily all soy-free. We’ve linked to the allergen menus from a few of our favorite options below, but note that not every item at these places is soy-free:
Panera Bread (full allergen menu isn't available on mobile devices)
Chick Fil A (the chicken breading contains soy)
With the right preparation, it is possible to eat soy-free at a variety of fast food restaurants. Knowing that you can safely eat at a few fast food chain restaurants can relieve the burden and stress of eating away from home!