Eating at Dairy Queen When Bulking (6 Bodybuilding Meals)

When you are bulking, your focus should be on eating a meal with enough protein to build muscle while not eating food that is high in volume, leaving you feeling too physically full.  You can certainly accomplish these things if you’re a bodybuilder and want to eat at Dairy Queen.

So what should you eat at Dairy Queen when bulking? If you are looking for a bulking meal option between 600 – 950 calories at Dairy Queen, a chicken sandwich or burger with two patties and a side of chicken strips is best. For a meal higher than 1,000 calories, add a second sandwich to your order.  

In this article, I will provide:

  • 6 meal options for what to eat at Dairy Queen when bulking
  • My top 4 tips for eating at Dairy Queen both before and after your workout

Have a FeastGood Nutrition Coach help you get results faster than trying to stick it out alone

What To Eat at Dairy Queen If You’re A Bodybuilder: 6 Meal Options  

Six meal options to order at Dairy Queen when bodybuilding or bulking are:

1. 600 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

600 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a 1/3 lb. double with cheese
  • Do not order fries 

This meal has 567 calories, 36g protein (25%), 36g carbohydrates (25%) and 31g fat (49%).

A 1/3 lb. double has two patties, which provide a higher protein meal option compared to regular burgers. Getting sufficient protein is important when bulking as it is what your body will use to repair your muscles after a workout. This process of damage and repair is what leads to increased strength and muscle mass. 

Choosing a meal with both beef and cheese will add fat to your meal. When bulking, fat can be beneficial to include in meals as it’s a low volume food. This means it takes up less physical space in your stomach for the calories you are eating. This can help reduce the feeling of being constantly full, making it more comfortable to eat higher calories. 

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs). 

Options For Pre & Post Workout

This meal is an adequate option to eat pre or post-workout, however, a grilled chicken sandwich would provide a more optimal option. 

If you are eating this around a workout, ensure you order it without cheese and with no additional dipping sauces. This will help to reduce the fat in the meal, so our body can get energy primarily from carbs as they will provide a bigger burst of energy during your workout. 

2. 750 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

750 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a Stackburger: original cheeseburger  
  • Add a 3 piece order of chicken strips
  • Do not order fries 

This meal has 739 calories, 44g protein (24%), 62g carbohydrates (34%) and 35g fat (43%).

Adding chicken strips to your meal boosts the protein by 22g. Additionally, it will add fat to your meal. Fat is helpful when bulking as it’s a low volume food, meaning it takes up very little physical space for the calories you are eating. Many struggles to eat enough when bulking as they constantly feel full, adding fat to your meals will help to reduce this.  

While french fries do add 290 calories, it is primarily from carbs and fat, with only 3g of protein in regular-size fries. When bulking, I recommend aiming for each meal having 30 – 35% of its calories coming from protein. This will ensure you have sufficient protein to allow for muscle and strength growth. 

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs).  

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are eating this meal around a workout, I recommend opting for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of the burger as it’s lower in fat. Fat provides slower, long-lasting energy, which is not the goal of a workout. Instead, the focus should be to get our energy from carbs, which provide a quick burst of energy. I also recommend skipping the additional dipping sauces as these are primarily fat. 

To add additional carbs and calories that were reduced by switching to the grilled chicken sandwich, baked Lays chips or a small mango mist slush can be added. This will add 26g and 57g of carbs respectively. 

Related Article: Is Mango Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? We discuss the pros and cons.

3. 850 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

850 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a chicken bacon ranch sandwich
  • Add a 3 piece order of chicken strips
  • Do not order fries 

This meal has 854 calories, 54g protein (25%), 74g carbohydrates (35%) and 38g fat (40%).

The chicken bacon ranch sandwich provides a relatively even mix of protein, fat and carbs. When bulking, this is ideal as you get the benefits of each macronutrient. You will have sufficient protein for building muscle, quicker energy from the carbs and lower volume calories from the fat.

Adding the chicken strips boost calories, primarily from fat and protein. This is beneficial when bulking as it provides protein required to build muscle and calories that are lower in physical volume. This can be especially helpful for those that find it challenging to eat high calories when bulking because they are always feeling overly full. 

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs). 

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are planning to eat this meal around a workout, I recommend ordering the sandwich without bacon or ranch as both are high in fat. High-fat foods will leave us with less immediate energy for our workout. Instead, I recommend ordering light ranch dressing or bbq and low-fat substitute. 

4. 950 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

950 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a 1/3 lb. double with cheese
  • Add a grilled chicken sandwich
  • Do not order fries 

This meal has 950 calories, 64g protein (27%), 70g carbohydrates (29%) and 46g fat (44%).

Adding a grilled chicken sandwich is a lower fat option to add calories to your meal. While fat is a great ‘lower volume’ way to add calories, consuming too much fat can leave you feeling overly full, think of that feeling when you eat too much rich food like fettuccine alfredo. 

Since the burger is beef and contains cheese, the fat is already quite high. Not adding additional fat will ensure you are still feeling your best digestively after your meal, and don’t struggle with a loss of appetite for the remainder of the day. 

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs). 

Options For Pre & Post Workout

For the most optimal pre-workout meal, I recommend subbing the burger for a second grilled chicken sandwich as this is the lowest fat option. Keeping the fat low will ensure your body can use the carbs you are eating so you have plenty of quick energy available for your workout. 

If you do choose to order the burger, I recommend ordering it without cheese as this will help to somewhat reduce the fat. 

5. 1,150 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

1,150 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a chicken bacon ranch sandwich 
  • Add a grilled chicken sandwich
  • Add regular fries

This meal has 1,160 calories, 63g protein (22%), 119g carbohydrates (41%) and 48g fat (37%).

While the fries do not provide a significant source of protein, pairing them with higher protein sandwiches such as the grilled chicken sandwich can ensure the overall protein in your meal is sufficient. 

When paired with protein, french fries can be a helpful food for anyone that struggles to eat enough when bulking. Foods, like french fries, that are generally quite delicious, can make it possible to continue to eat even when you are feeling full. They are also more calorically dense, which again will help reduce the feeling of being so full.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs). 

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are eating this meal before a workout, you may want to consider the lower-calorie meal plans as a meal this high in calories will likely leave you feeling less energized and slow, similar to that sleepy feeling post-Thanksgiving dinner. 

This meal would be a better option post-workout, however, it is recommended to order a classic turkey sandwich to reduce the fat. 

Keeping the fat lower after our workout will allow our bodies to better recover.

6. 1,450 Calorie Dairy Queen Bulking Meal Plan 

1,450 calorie bulking dairy queen meal plan
  • Order a 1/3 lb. double with cheese
  • Add a chicken bacon ranch sandwich 
  • Add a grilled chicken club sandwich
  • Do not order fries

This meal has 1,442 calories, 96g protein (27%), 116g carbohydrates (32%) and 66g fat (41%).

Including a mix of chicken and beef will help to create a meal with a relatively even mix of carbs, protein and fat. This even mix is important when bulking so you can get the benefits of each macronutrient, without the downsides that come with eating too much of one. 

This meal has sufficient protein, providing your body with the tools it needs to build muscle. The carbs will provide plenty of energy throughout your day. The fat will help to keep the physical volume of food down, while still keeping the calories high.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce will add between 40 – 240 calories. The three dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (240 calories), ranch (220 calories) and thousand island (210 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. Oven-baked Lay’s chips are the best high carb option for around a workout (130 calories and 26g of carbs). 

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are planning to eat this meal around your workout, I recommend opting for one of the lower-calorie meal plans instead. Eating a meal this high in calories will leave you feeling lethargic and is likely to cause some digestive discomfort. Neither of these will result in a good workout or recovery post-workout. 

Related Article: 13 Lowest Calorie Chips (Top Picks)

Tips for Eating at Dairy Queen Before a Workout

What you eat before a workout is one of the biggest factors in how well you can perform during your workout. By selecting a more optimal meal, you can ensure you have the energy needed to perform at your best.

Should you eat at Dairy Queen before a workout? Yes, you should eat at Dairy Queen before a workout. A grilled chicken sandwich with light ranch and a mango mist slush provides a high carb, moderate protein and fat meal that is ideal pre-workout. Ordering a second sandwich provides more calories if needed.

Read more in my article Can You Eat Fried Food Before And After Workouts?

4 Tips for How to Eat at Dairy Queen Before a Workout

My top 4 tips for how to eat at Dairy Queen before a workout are:

1. Order a sandwich 

Before a workout, the biggest focus is to eat a meal that is high in carbs as it will provide the quickest source of energy for our bodies. With more carbs consumed, you are likely to find yourself feeling energized and able to perform better and for longer during heavier workouts. 

This meal should have two servings of carbs at the minimum, with a serving size being about the size of a closed fist. At Dairy Queen, a sandwich bun is the best option.

I recommend ensuring that you are eating this meal within 1 – 2 hours of your workout. 

2. Opt for grilled chicken for your protein

In addition to focusing on consuming carbs pre-workout, that also includes limiting the fat we eat. Fat slows down our digestion, making it more difficult for our bodies to break down and use the carbs we just ate, leaving us with less energy for our workout. 

At Dairy Queen, grilled chicken is lower in fat compared to beef or breaded chicken and therefore the best option to consume before a workout. 

Want to learn more about fats after a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat After A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

3. Skip the bacon, cheese and sauces

At Dairy Queen, bacon, cheese and most sauces are high in fat. We want to limit the fat we are eating around our workout so our body can easily use the carbs we are consuming for energy. If you are ordering a sauce, I recommend sticking to low-fat sauces such as light ranch or fat-free Italian or french dressing.

4. Add a mango mist slush to your meal

In addition to just eating more carbs before a workout, we also want to try and include a combination of slow and quick digesting carbs to further improve the energy we have available. Slow digesting carbs provide energy over a few hours, think starchier foods like bread or cereal. Quick digesting carbs provide energy within a half-hour, think of foods high in sugar like fruit. 

By including both, you will have a quick burst of energy to start your workout, as well as sustained energy to keep you going for the rest of your gym session. If you find yourself feeling lower energy partway through, you can add a quick digesting carb halfway through. At Dairy Queen, applesauce would be your best option. 

A mango mist slush is a quick digesting carb, and therefore beneficial to include in your pre-workout meal along with the sandwich. I recommend not consuming this at the same time as your meal, instead, eat it half an hour before the start of your workout.  

Related Article: Should You Eat Fat Before A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

Tips for Eating at Dairy Queen After a Workout

Your post-workout meal starts the process of repairing the muscle damaged during your workout, which is what leads to increased strength and muscular growth. Therefore, this meal is just as important as your pre-workout meal when it comes to optimizing your gym performance. 

Should you eat at Dairy Queen after a workout? Yes, you should eat at Dairy Queen after a workout. A grilled chicken sandwich with a side of chicken strips provides a high carbohydrate and protein and moderate fat meal that is ideal post-workout. Ordering a second sandwich is a good option if you need more calories.

4 Tips for How to Eat at Dairy Queen After a Workout

My top 4 tips for how to eat at Dairy Queen after a workout are:

1. Order a sandwich 

During your workout, your body is using up the fuel it has stored for energy. At the end of your workout, you’ve likely depleted most of these stores. Replenishing these kicks starts the process of repairing, and in turn growing, our muscles so we want to prioritize beginning this as soon as we can after finishing our workout.

The best way to replenish is to eat a meal high in carbs. What does high in carbs look like? Generally, it is at least two servings of carbs, where a serving is the size of a closed fist. At Dairy Queen, a sandwich bun is the best option.

I recommend aiming to eat this meal within 1 – 1.5 hours after finishing your workout. 

2. Choose grilled chicken as your meat option

Protein is also important to consume after your workout as protein is the building block that our body uses to repair our muscles. This process of repairing muscle is what will ultimately lead to increased strength and muscle growth. 

For our body to use the carbs and protein we are eating quickly, limiting the amount of fat we are eating post-workout is also important. Consuming fat with our meal will slow down the digestion process, delaying the muscle repair process. 

At Dairy Queen, grilled chicken is the leanest option and therefore recommend post-workout.

3. Add an order of chicken strips to your meal

Protein is important after our workout so our body has what it needs to repair and grow our muscles. If we aren’t eating enough protein, the muscle breakdown that was started during your workout will continue instead of the growth and repair that we are looking for. 

At Dairy Queen, adding chicken strips to your meal is the best way to boost the protein without adding significant additional fat. 

4. Go light on cheese, bacon and sauces

After a workout, limiting the fat we are eating is important so we aren’t slowing down digestion making it more difficult for our body to use the carbs and protein we need it to. 

I like to think of it like carbs and protein are cars that are on a highway driving, heading towards our muscles as their end destination. Fat is the other drivers on the road going below the speed limit, slowing down how quickly they can get to their destination. 

At Dairy Queen, the highest sources of fat are cheese, bacon and sauces. Ensure you are limiting your meal to only one of these. If you order a meal that comes with sauce, ask for it on the side and add no more than 1 thumb size portion to your meal.

Check out these 21 Lowest Calorie Desserts At Dairy Queen

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions for eating at Dairy Queen if you workout. 

Will Eating at Dairy Queen Ruin My Gains?

No, eating at Dairy Queen will not ruin your gains. To maintain muscle mass, the most important factor is eating sufficient protein during the day. Dairy Queen’s menu has lots of high protein options, such as chicken sandwiches and burgers with two patties, that make it possible to maintain your gains.

Can I Eat at Dairy Queen and Still Gain Muscle?

Yes, you can eat at Dairy Queen and still gain muscle. To gain muscle, you need to be eating enough protein after your workout so your muscles have what they need to repair and grow. Dairy Queen’s chicken sandwiches and burgers with two patties are all high in protein ensuring you have enough protein to make it possible to gain muscle.

What Meal at Dairy Queen has the Most Protein?

The meal at Dairy Queen with the most protein is the signature stackburger: bacon two cheese deluxe – triple. This meal has 940 calories, 63g of protein, 37g of carbohydrates and 61g of fat. 

What Meal at Dairy Queen has the Most Calories?

The meal at Dairy Queen with the most calories is the signature stackburger: loaded A.1. steakhouse – triple with large cheese curds. This meal has 2,044 calories, 112g of protein, 102g of carbohydrates and 132g of fat. 

Which Meal at Dairy Queen has the Least Calories

The meal at Dairy Queen that has the least calories is the chicken BLT salad with grilled chicken. This meal has 280 calories, 34g of protein, 12g of carbohydrates and 11g of fat.

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

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About The Author

Laura Semotiuk

Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes. You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through her Website.