When it comes to maintaining a ketogenic diet, which focuses on low carbohydrate intake and high fat consumption, finding suitable food options can be challenging, especially when you’re pressed for time or on the go. Fast food establishments, known for their carb-heavy menus, may not seem like an ideal choice at first. However, with a little knowledge and awareness, you can still make ketogenic-friendly choices to stay on track with your diet even while dining at fast food restaurants.
To adhere to a ketogenic diet while consuming fast food, it’s crucial to understand which items to avoid due to their high carbohydrate content. Typically, these include items such as buns, breaded and fried foods, wraps, tortillas, French fries, and sugary sauces or dressings. Instead, focus on selecting foods that are rich in healthy fats and have minimal carbs.
Many fast food chains offer customizable options, allowing you to modify your order to suit your dietary needs. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you make ketogenic diet-friendly choices:
5 Ketogenic Fast Food Options
Five Guys Burgers
A hamburger can be the perfect ketogenic diet-friendly meal; avoid the bun. Five Guys Burgers locations are usually cooperative with a no-bun order. Ask for it to be boxed up with; it’s essentially a ketogenic burger salad. Lettuce and tomato are suitably low-carb vegetables, and you’re free to load up on bacon and cheese. However, avoid ketchup and mayo; they add unneeded carbs and sugar. Five Guys offer many of their burger toppings at no additional charge. That means you have lots of customization options, many of the keto-friendly.
At Five Guys Burgers, you can customize your order to make it more keto-friendly.
Here are some options and modifications you can consider:
- Bunless Burger: Instead of having your burger in a bun, ask for it to be wrapped in lettuce or served in a bowl. This allows you to enjoy the juicy patty and toppings without the carbs from the bun.
- Cheeseburger or Bacon Cheeseburger: Opt for a cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger as they provide a good source of protein and fats. You can choose between single or double patties depending on your preference.
- Toppings: Load up on toppings that are low in carbs and high in flavor. Consider adding options like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, and hot sauce. Avoid ketchup and sugary sauces, as they tend to be high in carbohydrates.
- Bacon: Bacon is a great addition to your burger, as it adds a delicious and satisfying crunch while providing additional fat.
- Mushrooms: If you enjoy mushrooms, you can ask for sautéed mushrooms to be added to your burger. They add a flavorful and low-carb element to your meal.
- Skip the fries: Unfortunately, Five Guys’ fries are not suitable for a ketogenic diet due to their high carbohydrate content. Instead, you can opt for a side of pickles or enjoy your burger on its own.
- Drink options: Stick to water, unsweetened iced tea, or diet sodas as your beverage choices. Avoid regular sodas or milkshakes, as they contain a significant amount of sugar and carbohydrates.
Remember, while customizing your order at Five Guys can make it more keto-friendly, it’s important to exercise portion control and be mindful of the overall macronutrient content of your meal. While enjoying an occasional fast food meal is possible on a ketogenic diet, it’s best to focus on whole, unprocessed foods as the foundation of your eating plan.
Chipotle is best known for its custom burritos. Preparing a keto burrito, like this one on Organize Yourself Skinny, takes a bit of care, as the tortilla and most fillings are enormous sources of carbs. However, many of the toppings are low carb, so that you can put together some tasty keto meals. Be sure to dispense with any high-carb ingredients, tortillas, rice, and bean fillings. Start with a protein base; choose from beef, chicken, or pork. Then add your toppings, salsa, tomato, cheese, or other low-carb options. Avoid too much lettuce or other green vegetables.
At Chipotle, you have the flexibility to create a customized keto-friendly meal by choosing from a variety of fresh ingredients.
Here are some options and modifications you can consider:
- Salad Bowl: Opt for a salad bowl instead of a burrito or burrito bowl. This eliminates the carb-heavy tortilla or rice base.
- Choose a Protein: Select a protein option such as grilled chicken, steak, carnitas (pork), or barbacoa (shredded beef). These proteins are low in carbs and high in fat and protein.
- Skip the Rice and Beans: Rice and beans are high in carbohydrates, so it’s best to avoid them. Ask the staff to skip these items while assembling your bowl.
- Load Up on Fresh Vegetables: Fill your bowl with a variety of low-carb vegetables such as lettuce, fajita vegetables (grilled onions and peppers), salsa, guacamole, and cheese. These toppings add flavor, texture, and healthy fats to your meal.
- Salsa and Hot Sauces: Chipotle offers various salsas and hot sauces, which are generally low in carbs. Choose options like fresh tomato salsa, tomatillo green chili salsa, or hot salsa to add a burst of flavor without many carbohydrates.
- Sour Cream: Sour cream is a keto-friendly option that adds creaminess and extra fat to your bowl.
- Avoid Chips: Chipotle often offers tortilla chips as a side. These are high in carbs and should be avoided on a ketogenic diet.
- Beverages: Opt for water, unsweetened iced tea, or diet sodas as your beverage choices. Avoid regular sodas or sugary beverages.
Focusing on protein, healthy fats, and low-carb vegetables can create a delicious and satisfying keto-friendly meal at Chipotle. Don’t be afraid to customize your order and communicate your dietary preferences to the staff to ensure they accommodate your needs.
Chicken is a sound basis for a ketogenic meal, so KFC has good offerings. The things to avoid are the heavy batter or some carb-heavy sides like potatoes. If available, your best bet is the grilled chicken, which comes without the batter. The regular chicken can be made more acceptable by simply discarding the skin. Avoid typical sides like fries, mashed potatoes, or macaroni salad. Choose instead their house or Caesar salads, or even the green beans. Avoid any added croutons and go with a light dressing. You can even save some money on your purchase by using it.
When dining at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) while following a ketogenic diet, it’s important to make smart choices and focus on options that are low in carbs and high in healthy fats.
While many items on the KFC menu are high in carbohydrates due to breading and other additions, here are some potential keto-friendly options:
- Grilled Chicken: Opt for grilled chicken pieces instead of fried options. Grilled chicken is typically lower in carbs and higher in protein.
- Chicken Wings: If available, choose plain chicken wings without breading or sauces. These can be a flavorful and keto-friendly choice.
- Green Beans: Green beans are often offered as a side dish at KFC. They are relatively low in carbs and can serve as a nutritious vegetable option.
- Caesar Salad (without croutons): KFC may offer a Caesar salad. Order it without croutons and opt for a low-carb dressing such as Caesar or ranch. Remember to watch the dressing quantity to ensure it fits within your daily carb limits.
- Coleslaw (in moderation): KFC’s coleslaw can be an option in moderation. While it does contain some carbohydrates, the amount can be controlled and fit into a keto meal plan.
- Unsweetened Iced Tea or Water: Stick to water or unsweetened iced tea as your beverage choices to avoid added sugars and carbs.
It’s essential to note that the availability of certain menu items may vary depending on the specific location and country. Checking the KFC website or contacting your local restaurant for specific nutritional information can help you make informed decisions. Remember, while these options can be suitable for a keto diet occasionally, it’s important to focus on whole, unprocessed foods as the foundation of your eating plan.
If you want a Whataburger, you’ll first need to get rid of the bun. Try ordering without a bun, or discard the bun when it comes. You can also choose from a selection of melts or their breakfast menu. Both can be had with bread or wraps, featuring low-carb chicken or cheese. Lots of the salads are seasonal, so be sure to ask for current options. If you want a Whataburger, ask about getting rid of the bun.
When dining at Whataburger while following a ketogenic diet, you can make choices that align with your dietary needs.
Here are some potential keto-friendly options at Whataburger:
- Whataburger with Lettuce Wrap: Order a Whataburger without the bun and ask for it to be wrapped in lettuce instead. This allows you to enjoy the burger and toppings while reducing carbohydrate intake.
- Double Meat Whataburger: Request a Double Meat Whataburger without the bun. This option provides an extra serving of meat for added protein and fat.
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich without Bun: Opt for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich without the bun. This gives you a grilled chicken patty with lettuce, tomato, and any other desired toppings.
- Breakfast Tacos with No Tortilla: Whataburger offers breakfast tacos that can be modified for a keto-friendly meal. Order your choice of breakfast taco fillings (such as eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheese) without the tortilla. You can ask for the fillings to be served in a bowl or wrapped in lettuce.
- Garden Salad with Grilled Chicken: Whataburger provides a Garden Salad that you can customize with grilled chicken as the protein source. Choose low-carb dressings like ranch or Caesar to accompany the salad.
- Side Salad: If you’re looking for a smaller option, consider ordering a side salad. This can be a simple mix of lettuce and other vegetables, which you can pair with a keto-friendly dressing.
- Avocado Slices or Guacamole: You can add avocado slices or guacamole as a side or topping to increase your healthy fat intake.
- Unsweetened Iced Tea or Water: Stick to unsweetened iced tea or water as your beverage choices to avoid added sugars and carbs.
As with any fast food restaurant, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and any added ingredients that may increase the carbohydrate content. Nutritional information for Whataburger menu items is available on their website, which can help you make informed choices that fit within your specific dietary requirements.
The simplest way to avoid carbs at Subway is to order your sub as a salad. This menu option allows you to avoid bread or wrap and prepare your protein and toppings in a bowl. And they have lots of add-ons like bacon and cheese. Their extensive breakfast menu offers most sandwiches with eggs, which are also a good option. Subway offers a good selection of meat and veggies. A low-cost option like turkey offers good protein and lets you choose from the full topping bar. Load up on low-carb choices like cucumber, tomato, or olives. Avoid any of the leafy green vegetables.
When ordering from Subway while following a ketogenic diet, you can make choices that align with your dietary needs.
Here are some potential keto-friendly options at Subway:
- Salad: Choose to have your sub ingredients served as a salad instead of a sandwich. Start with a base of lettuce and add your choice of protein, such as grilled chicken, turkey, or roast beef. Load up on keto-friendly vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, green peppers, and onions. Avoid high-carb toppings like croutons or sweet dressings.
- Protein Power Bowl: Subway offers a Protein Power Bowl, which is a salad without the lettuce base. It typically includes a double serving of your choice of protein, along with vegetables and toppings. Customize it by selecting low-carb ingredients and dressings.
- Subway Club: Order a Subway Club as a salad or ask for it to be made into a wrap using lettuce instead of a tortilla. The Subway Club comes with a combination of turkey, roast beef, and ham, along with your choice of vegetables and dressings.
- Rotisserie-Style Chicken: Opt for the Rotisserie-Style Chicken as your protein choice. Pair it with keto-friendly vegetables and dressings to create a satisfying meal.
- Extras: Enhance the flavor and increase your fat intake by adding high-fat extras like avocado, bacon, or cheese. These toppings can contribute to the overall satisfaction of your meal.
- Beverages: Stick to water, unsweetened iced tea, or diet sodas as your beverage choices to avoid added sugars and carbs.
Remember to avoid high-carb items such as bread, wraps, croutons, sweet dressings, and sugary sauces. Be cautious with condiments, as some may contain hidden sugars or carbs. Additionally, portion control and customization are key to creating a keto-friendly meal at Subway.
You’ll need to pass on the pizza or priazzo here and opt for a side salad or chicken wings. The dry rub is the better choice. You can also most likely eat the toppings and leave the crust behind as an option as well. By exercising some creativity, you should find ketogenic meals anywhere you go. Knowing which food items are low and high in carbs will help you make good choices. Just be sure to have a good grasp of the menu items before ordering. And don’t be afraid to ask the servers to make changes that suit you better.
When ordering from Pizza Hut while following a ketogenic diet, it can be challenging to find options that align with your dietary needs, as pizza is typically high in carbohydrates due to its dough and toppings.
However, there are a few ways to make your order more keto-friendly:
- Create Your Own Salad: Pizza Hut offers a salad bar at some locations. You can create a custom salad with a base of lettuce and add keto-friendly toppings such as grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, and a variety of low-carb vegetables. Choose a dressing that is low in carbs, such as ranch or Caesar.
- Wings: Pizza Hut offers chicken wings that can be a suitable keto-friendly option. Opt for plain wings or choose flavors that are not sugar-laden, such as buffalo or garlic Parmesan. Be mindful of any sweet or honey-based sauces.
- Meat Lover’s Pizza (Crustless): Order a Meat Lover’s Pizza without the crust, essentially turning it into a meat and cheese casserole. This allows you to enjoy the protein and cheese toppings while avoiding the high-carb crust. Request that the toppings be cooked together in a pan or dish.
- Veggie Pizza (Crustless): Similarly, you can order a Veggie Pizza without the crust. It will consist of vegetable toppings and cheese, providing a low-carb option. Ensure there are no high-carb ingredients like starchy vegetables or sweet sauces.
- Sides: Pizza Hut offers a few side options that can be suitable for a ketogenic diet. These may include celery sticks, mozzarella sticks (if available without breading), or a side Caesar salad without croutons.
It’s important to note that while these options can be lower in carbs compared to traditional pizzas, they may still contain some carbohydrates and should be enjoyed in moderation. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check with your local Pizza Hut for specific ingredient information and customization options to ensure your order meets your dietary requirements.
In summary, finding keto-friendly options at fast-food chains can be challenging, but with some modifications and careful choices, it’s possible to enjoy a meal that aligns with a ketogenic diet. At Five Guys Burgers, you can opt for a bunless burger wrapped in lettuce or served in a bowl, load up on toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and bacon, and avoid high-carb items like fries. At Chipotle, you can choose a salad bowl with protein options like grilled chicken or steak, skip the rice and beans, and load up on low-carb vegetables, salsa, and guacamole. When ordering at Whataburger, go for a bunless Whataburger or Bacon King, choose grilled chicken options, and include low-carb sides like coleslaw. Burger King offers options like bunless Whoppers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and salads, while at Subway, you can enjoy protein-based salads or wraps with lettuce instead of bread. Lastly, at Pizza Hut, you can create a custom salad, opt for wings or crustless meat lover’s or veggie pizzas, and choose sides like celery sticks or a side Caesar salad. Always be mindful of portion sizes, toppings, and sauces, and remember that whole, unprocessed foods should form the foundation of a ketogenic eating plan.