Navigating the world of fast food restaurants can be challenging when you’re keto. Fast food is convenient, tasty, and fast, and sometimes you might need or want to simply grab-and-go! Fortunately, you have lots of options available to you that give you the perks of fast food and cater to your dietary needs. Check out these top tips for ordering keto at fast food favorites.

 

Keto Fast Food Tips!

Many restaurants have nutrition information online, like McDonald’s and Chipotle online nutrition calculator. Using these handy tools, you can plan your meals before you go.

 

Top tips to make fast food keto friendly:

1.   Go Bunless!

Typical burger or chicken sandwich meals from fast-food joints are off the carb Richter scale and should be avoided. Instead of turning it into a cheat day, skip the bun and any toppings that might be high in carbs, such as honey mustard sauce, commercial ketchup, and breaded onions.

Swap these toppings for more keto-friendly choices like:

  • Mayo
  • Avocado
  • Mustard
  • A Fried Egg
  • Lettuce
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Tomato
  • Onions (not breaded)

Many places offer a lettuce-wrapped burger or an ‘unwich’ where you get all the fillings without the bread! Get more fiber by adding a side salad.

For example, you can get a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger without the bun for 4 grams of carbs. The Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Nuggets dipped in 2 servings of ranch and avocado dressing is around 2 grams of carbs [1,2].




 

2.   Choose a Low-Carb Burrito Bowl

You’d be surprised by the high-carb content of a single burrito wrap. Some bring a whopping 50 grams, which definitely isn’t suitable for keto dieters. Skip the burrito wraps and shells and build a delicious burrito bowl. Start with leafy greens or a low-carb base, add your preference of fat and protein choices, and avoid high-carb toppings like beans, sugary dressings, corn, and tortilla chips.

Most fast-food restaurants have plenty of high-fat, low-carb options like sautéed veggies, sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado, onions, cheese, and fresh herbs. For example, the Chipotle Steak Burrito Bowl with lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and cheese (no rice or beans) gives you around 6 grams of carbs, 23 grams of fat, and 29 grams of protein [3].

3.   Eggy Breakfasts!

Most fast-food places offer eggs — a perfect keto-friendly food. Eggs are high in protein and fat, but they’re especially low in carbs. One egg has less than 1 gram of carbs [4].

You could order plain eggs with a side of cheese and sausage and ditch the carb-heavy hash browns, potatoes, or pancakes. The McDonald’s Big Breakfast without the hash browns or biscuit only has 2 grams of carbs. Why not try a salad on the side?

If you have time to stop in a deli, grab an omelet with greens and cheese and an unsweetened coffee.

keto at mcdonalds breakfast

4.   Low-Carb Salads

Even some salads from fast food establishments can be high in carbs, primarily due to the dressings, dried fruit, and marinades that quickly bring up the carb count. A Wendy’s full-sized Apple Pecan Chicken Salad has 40 grams of sugar and 52 grams of carbohydrates! [5]

Thankfully, you still have lots of keto-friendly salads available to you, such as the Chipotle Salad Bowl with steak, cheese, romaine, salsa, and sour cream with around 7 grams of carbs.

McDonald’s Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad with guacamole has 10 grams of carbs.

 

5.   Keto-Compliant Condiments!

Fast-food condiments are often loaded with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, but some keto-friendly choices are available, such as the mayo and mustard at McDonald’s, which have 0 grams of carbs. The McDonalds Tartar Sauce has 1 gram of carbs.

Dipping sauces often have fewer carbs than the signature salad dressings, and you can use the dipping sauce as dressing, such as the Creamy Ranch Sauce from McDonald’s, that has 1 gram of carbs.

You could bring a ready-made dressing or olive oil packets and a little salt and pepper. Ask for a lemon wedge to complete your dressing and add flavor to your salad. Add guacamole for more fat in your salad!

6.   Go Grilled Over Fried and Unsweetened over Sweetened

Choose grilled instead of fried and breaded options. The grilled chicken is always a lower-carb option than the fried chicken. Limit carb count by avoiding fried and breaded toppings, like crispy fried peppers.

 

7.   Keto Beverages

Fast food restaurants are notorious for sugary beverages from milkshakes to sweet tea. Some beverages can have as much as 88 grams of sugar, which is around 22 teaspoons!

Outside of the obvious choice of water, go for:

  • Unsweetened Iced Tea
  • Sugar-Free Unsweetened Iced Coffee or Black Iced Coffee
  • Diet Soda
  • Plain Unsweetened Coffee with Cream
  • Hot Unsweetened Tea with Lemon Juice
  • Soda Water

You’d be surprised by the carb count in some sugar-free iced coffees, such as these McDonald’s Favorites:

  • Small Iced Coffee, Sugar-Free Vanilla (8 grams carbs)
  • Medium Iced Coffee, Sugar-Free Vanilla (11 grams carbs)
  • Large Iced Coffee, Sugar-Free Vanilla (16 grams carbs)

You could keep a keto-friendly sweetener like Stevia in your car or bag to sweeten your beverage without boosting carbs.

 

8.   Keto Snacks!

Keeping keto-approved snacks on hand can help tide you over between meals. Many convenience stores and gas stations have a decent collection of low-carb foods. You might bring keto snacks from home, such as:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nut Butter Packets
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • String Cheese
  • Beef Jerky
  • Meat Sticks
  • Pork Rinds
  • Tuna Packets
  • Coconut Flakes

Buying snacks offers convenience, but homemade snacks give you more control over your food and are usually higher quality. Investing in a cooler to keep in your car can also make it easier to bring keto snacks like low-carb veggies and hard-boiled eggs.

 

Check out our Ketogenic Certified hassle-free, delicious snack options:

  • Heka Bars only have 1-2g net carbs and are available in 6 flavors: Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Blueberry Muffin, Maple Pecan, Chocolate Sea Salt, and White Chocolate Macadamia.
  • Nush Cakes have 2-4g net carbs and come in 5 flavors: carrot spice, cherry almond, pineapple mango, banana nut, blueberry, and raspberry & cream.

 

Need more help staying keto at fast-food favorites? Read our other helpful articles:

 

How Do You Order Keto at Fast Food Restaurants?

What are your favorite fast food places? Share your keto fast food tips with the community here at ketogenic.

 

 

 

References

1.    McDonalds. Nutrition Calculator. https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-our-food/nutrition-calculator.html

2.    Chic Fil A. Grilled Nuggets. https://www.chick-fil-a.com/menu-items/grilled-nuggets

3.    Chipotle. Nutrition Calculator. https://www.chipotle.com/nutrition-calculator

4.    Self Nutrition Data. Egg, Whole, Cooked, Nutrition Facts & Calories. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/117/2

5.    Wendys. Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. https://order.wendys.com/product/30027/apple-pecan-chicken-salad




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