I'll admit that the concept of eating out while on a diet seems oxymoronic. But for a person who may work full time and have other family/community commitments, avoiding a local restaurant for a month or more is a bit unrealistic. Convenience aside, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. The key is to choose that scenery wisely.
For those who undertake The 17 Day Diet (by Dr. Mike Moreno), phase 1 is pretty limiting and eating out becomes quite a nutritional challenge. Phase 2 opens up your options slightly but also requires thought and planning to visit a restaurant and still stay true to the plan. McDonalds definitely doesn't fit in The 17 Day Diet, but there are a few faster-food options that can provide some diversity and a respite from cooking at home. Here are a few that helped me through the first few phases.
Jimmy Johns (subs) - Jimmy Johns offers all of their sandwiches as an "un-wich", where the bread is replaced by a giant lettuce leaf. Choose lean proteins and skip the mayo and you can eat unlimited un-wiches on Phase 1.
Boston Market - Choose rotisserie chicken (take off the skin) and a side of vegetables to stay true to Phase 1. Skip the cornbread!!
Sonny's BBQ - Sliced turkey and BBQ chicken (skinless) are great options here, as well as a tasteful salad bar. In later phases, you can bring on the corn-on-the-cob or a baked potato (sweet or white), just avoid slathering them in butter. Stay away from the garlic bread!
Moe's Southwest Grill - Be a "streaker" and lose the tortilla. During Phase 2, you can get a mean naked burrito with a protein and beans (skip the rice!) and top it with salsa and veggies. Steer clear of the chips. (I'm sure Chipotle and QDoba offer similar tortilla-less options.)
Having completed The 17 Day Diet myself, I know how challenging, and admittedly *boring*, it can be to eat tuna, eggs, salads, and baked chicken every day for 17 days. Treating myself by eating out intelligently helped me stick with the plan.
Bottom line: there are some healthier options in the fast food/restaurant world. Do your homework before you go out and choose what you're going to eat before you get there. Be aware of your temptations and make smart choices (don't go to Moe's if you know you can't resist the side of chips).
Good luck and feel free to list your own healthy faster food finds in the comments section! I'd love to hear other options!
* Check out my personal review of The 17 Day Diet .
** Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist or dietician; all information posted above is a product of an informed consumer with a passion for health/wellness.