For individuals who eat low-carb or keto diets, there is more often than not something you can eat in every fast food place or restaurant. Plan in advance. Before entering a cafe or restaurant, check out their menu and nutrition information online at home or using your smart phone. It’s always good to know the safe options before being tempted by menu things you should not have on a low-carb diet.
In order to help you to find a quick keto-friendly option, I’ve compiled a list of several restaurants and fast food places and those items that I’ve found to get the lowest carb (and many emotionally satisfying) choices. These are not all perfect options, however when you’re tied to no other choices as a result of time or location constraints, they’ll do in a pinch.
It’s a massive help that fast-food places are required to post nutritional content. It gets much easier to adhere to the keto plan every day. The carb count I’m listing is approximate and it is NET grams.
In general, there is usually some salad option anywhere you might be. At Burger joints, just eliminate the bun, and several places offer lettuce wraps instead. Chicken shouldn’t have breading.
As a side note, it will help to have a knife and fork handy within your car or purse. Big, juicy burgers in tiny items of lettuce end up on the table – or even in your lap. Small, flimsy fastfood plasticware also provides difficult eating. Pull out your very own sturdy utensils and appreciate!
Now for the food choices… here are some pretty obvious general rules to adhere to:
Skip the bun or wrap
Skip the pasta, potato, or rice
Salads – no croutons. Stick with low sugar dressing options – Caesar, Blue Cheese, Ranch, Chipotle. Consider the name which may offer you a clue, things like “honey” inside the honey dijon or “sweet” inside the dressing name – these are typically not the ideal choice. Check the ingredient for things that are higher in carb content.
Chicken – Choose grilled or sauteed. Stay away from any chicken which is breaded.
McDonald’s – opt for any burger (zero g) or grilled chicken (2 g) minus the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. Give a side salad (3g). The Caesar salad with grilled chicken or perhaps the bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken are 9g.
Burger King – same burger info as McDonald’s: burger (zero g) minus the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. The tendergrill chicken sandwich minus the bun is 3g. BEWARE – you might think the veggie burger is low, yet it is 19g of carbs, so that’s in regards to a full day of carbs on keto. Put in a side salad (3g). The tendergrill chicken garden salad is 8g without dressing or croutons. The tendercrisp chicken salad is not an alternative. Usually do not attempt.
BONUS – dessert!?! – the fresh apple fries are certainly not fried and are 5g net carbs WITHOUT caramel sauce.
Subway – Probably should skip Subway should you can. The buns and wraps are common high in carbs. I assume you could just have them throw the ingredients in a wrapper sans bun, but that doesn’t sound appealing. I actually have no info on what the carb count will be for every bunless sub, however you can probably figure it – chicken or pepperoni is fine, but is “sweet onion” chicken okay? No clue. Stick towards the salads, but realize you’ll only get iceberg lettuce (4g).
Carl’s Junior and Hardees – This chain offers “lettuce wraps” – your burger wrapped in a large bit of lettuce for quick low carbohydrate eating. (As I’ve said, I tried it and don’t enjoy it. I like to hold my own, personal fork instead.) Bunless options – Six dollar burger (7g), 1/2 thick-burger (5g), charbroiled chicken club sandwich (7g/10g at Hardees). Grilled chicken salad without croutons is 10g. Side salad is 3g.
Jimmy John’s – The unwich – a sandwich covered with lettuce – fits the bill here. Meats are fine, just ensure the ingredients are not carb-rich.
Wendy’s – Again, you can get the burger in a lettuce wrap or even a box. Any burger with toppings. Mayo has corn syrup, and is also 1g. The chicken grill fillet is 1 g. It can be ordered within the chicken club sandwich or perhaps the ultimate chicken grill sandwich. Best salads: chicken caesar (7g), blt chicken salad with grilled chicken. Side salads aer 6g or 2g for Caesar.
Pizza Hut and other pizza places – It is possible to become accustomed to eating pizza with no crust. You need to eat twice as much, but if there’s an event or dinner out which you can’t avoid in a pizza place, just slide the cheesy toppings off and take in the big messy pile of cheese and toppings. A side salad is a nice addition. Otherwise, just opt for making pizza in your own home using a low-carb crust.
Mongolian Barbecue – YES! Load increase your bowl with chicken, shrimp, onion slices, and mushrooms, then top with all the Asian black bean sauce. I know beans have carbs, but this sauce label says 1 gram of carbs per ounce (each sauce is plainly labeled). Give a bit of garlic and wait for the griller to accomplish his work. It goes without saying that you skip the appetizers, tortillas, and rice. Ask the wait szwtzs not to bring these to the table.
Italian Restaurants – These take a little cunning, nevertheless they can be conqurerd! Ideas: how about chicken Marsala within an Italian place? Make sure it doesn’t come with pasta. Substitute broccoli as well as other keto-friendly side dish – or perhaps a big salad. Chicken piccata is also a possibility.
Mexican and Chinese restaurants are definitely the most challenging, because any low carb option is not the reason why to attend the restaurant to begin with. In a Mexican restaurant, I tend to acquire a large burrito without beans and spread the soft tortilla out like a plate. Take in the inner ingredients and toss the tortilla.