There’s something about those gleaming golden arches that sparks hunger pangs. If you’re on the go, you can still be keto at McDonalds.
Staying Keto at McDonalds!
The good news is you can stay keto at this fast-food favorite. You can usually customize and plan your meal online before you go with the handy McDonald’s nutrition tool.
Go bunless for breakfast and try a breakfast sandwich without the carb-heavy bun, McMuffin, bagel, or biscuit. Some of the best available keto breakfast options include:
- Egg McMuffin, no McMuffin (3 grams of carbs)
- Sausage McMuffin, no McMuffin (2 grams of carbs)
- Sausage McMuffin with egg, no McMuffin (3 grams of carbs)
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no biscuit (3 grams of carbs)
- Steak, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no biscuit (4 grams of carbs)
- Triple Breakfast Stack McMuffin, no McMuffin or bread (7 grams of carbs)
Tip: Taking away the bread can make the breakfast item less filling. Try adding a side of protein, such as a sausage or steak patty, bacon, egg, or even a slice of American cheese to increase fat and protein intake (both fats and protein contribute to satiety!)
2. Lunch or Dinner
Ask for your sandwich or burger without the bun. McDonald’s might provide your bunless meal in a convenient plastic container and include large pieces of leaf lettuce. This can save you over 30 grams of carbs and some calories!
A McDouble has 33 grams of carbs, but a plain McDouble with no bun only has 3 grams of carbs.
The same goes for the McChicken, and ditching the bun brings the carb count from around 38 grams of net carbs to around 9!
Here are some of your top bunless choices at McDonald’s:
- Hamburger, plain with no bun (0 grams carbs)
- Cheeseburger, plain with no bun (2 grams carbs)
- Double cheeseburger, plain with no bun (3 grams carbs)
- Bacon McDouble, plain with no bun (3 grams carbs)
- Triple Cheeseburger, plain with no bun (5 grams carbs)
- Quarter Pounder, plain with no bun (5 grams carbs)
- Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, plain with no bun (4 grams carbs)
- Big Mac, plain and no bun (2 grams carbs)
- Bacon Big Mac, no bun (8 grams carbs)
- Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, plain with no bun (0 grams carbs)
- Filet-O-Fish, plain with no bun (9 grams of carbs)
Some options are a little higher in carbs and aren’t suitable for most keto dieters, such as:
- Classic Chicken Sandwich, plain with no bun (18 grams net carbs)
- Buttermilk, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, plain with no bun (18 grams net carbs)
- Chicken McNuggets 4 piece (10 grams net carbs)
- Chicken McNuggets, 6 pieces (15 grams net carbs)
- Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, 2 pieces (13 grams carbs)
3. Keto-Compliant Condiments!
Choose condiments wisely because most fast-food condiments are loaded with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. You’re pretty safe, however, if you stick with the following options:
- Mayonnaise (0 grams of carbs)
- Mustard (0 grams carbs)
- Tartar sauce (1-gram carbs)
- Big Mac Sauce (2 grams carbs)
- Spicy Buffalo Sauce (1-gram carbs)
- Creamy Ranch Sauce (1-gram carbs)
- Signature Sauce (3 grams carbs)
Tip: The Habanero Ranch Sauce has 5 grams of carbs, and the Honey Mustard Sauce has 6 grams of carbs, which might be more carbs than you want in a sauce. The Sweet ‘n’ Sour Sauce and the Tangy BBQ Sauce are too high for keto with 11 grams of carbs. That’s a lot of carbs to use on a little sauce!
4. Salads, Sides, and Dressings!
A side salad works perfectly on keto, just be sure to choose a keto-approved dressing. Most McDonalds’ dressings aren’t suitable, other than the Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (4 grams carbs) that might be okay for some keto dieters.
Here are the carb counts for some of the McDonald’s salad dressings:
- Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (4 grams carbs)
- Low-Fat Italian Dressing (8 grams carbs)
- Ranch Dressing (11 grams carbs)
- Creamy Southwest Dressing (12 grams carbs)
Tip: Instead of these dressings, you could choose a dipping sauce, such as a ranch dipping sauce with only 1 gram of carbs.
You could even mix the Creamy Ranch Sauce (1-gram carbs) with the Spicy Buffalo Sauce (1-gram carbs) for your salad dressing. In some circumstances, 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.
A side salad with no dressing at McDonald’s is around 2 grams of net carbs, and a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad with no dressing is around 6 grams of net carbs. Add guacamole for more fat in your salad!
You’re limited when it comes to side items at McDonald’s. While apples aren’t typically considered a keto-friendly fruit, some keto dieters might choose a side of apple slices with 4 grams of carbs.
Stick with a low- or no-sugar beverage like water, diet soda, or unsweetened iced tea. You’d be surprised by the carb count in some of the sugar-free iced coffees, such as:
- 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 the carb count.
*Nutrition Information from McDonald’s Website
How Do You Stay Keto at McDonalds and Other Fast-Food Restaurants?
What are your top tips for staying keto at McDonalds and other fast-food favorites?
Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.