If you have been thinking about starting a keto diet or are already on it you might be wondering what the fast food keto options are? When you decide to follow the ketogenic lifestyle, eating at a fast-food restaurant is one of those habits you may need to give up.
That’s because the foods served at these restaurants are usually based on high-carb items, such as bread and tortillas.
Thankfully, some of the most popular fast-food chains in the US now recognize the importance of eating healthy and are offering low carb options, ideal for those following keto and other low carb diets.
Some restaurants also allow diners to customize some of the food items on their menu to fit into their low carb lifestyle. So, just because you are on the keto diet does not mean you have to totally give up fast food.
Tips for Eating at Fast Food Restaurants While on Keto
Before you hit any fast-food restaurants, make sure you know what foods to eat and what to avoid. For keto, you are supposed to avoid high-carb foods to maintain ketosis.
So, do your research well and make sure you know which foods are high in carbs and which ones are safe for your diet. That way, you will know the best fast food keto options.
It’s also a good idea to inform the person taking your order that you are on a keto diet and see if they can suggest any food items on their menu that are safe for you.
The ketogenic diet is very popular these days, so there’s a good chance they will know what you are looking for. If not, explain to them that you would prefer to order low-carb foods.
You should know how to customize food items when eating fast food while on keto. For instance, when ordering a burger, you can ask not to include the bun.
When ordering salads, make sure you request to remove carb items in there, such as croutons. You can also request not to add condiments like ketchup since it’s usually high in carbs.
Related reading: Eating Out On Keto? Here’s How You Can
Fast Food Keto Options
Here are some fast food keto options to consider the next time you decide to eat out.
1. KFC Grilled Chicken
When you’re on keto, fried chicken is one of those foods you need to avoid. Although the chicken is high in protein and is good for keto, the fried chicken in fast-food restaurants like KFC is usually seasoned with flour or batter, which are high in carbs.
The worst thing about fried chicken is the oil that is used for frying. So far as I can see the oils they use may be palm or canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil with various additives with unpronouncable names to “protect flavor” and for anti-foaming.
These oils are all processed oils which are not healthy. Hydrogenated oils may be partially or fully hydrogenated. Fully hydrogenated don’t contain any trans fats which are the dangerous artery damaging substances found in partially hydrogenated oils.
It is not clear if KFC use fully hydrogenated oils or not but for sure the other processed oils they use are not healthy at all so are best avoided.
Your best bet is to opt for grilled chicken. It’s a much healthier option than fried chicken, and it’s now available at many of the KFC branches in the US.
Each piece of the grilled chicken contains only less than 1 gram of carbs. When it comes to the sides, opt for green beans, as they contain only 2 grams of net carbs per serving.
Related reading: Keto Thai Grilled Chicken Recipe
2. No Bun McDonald’s Cheeseburger Fast Food Keto Options
When you find yourself craving McDonald’s famous cheeseburger, order it without the bun. Also, inform them not to add high sugar condiments so your cheeseburger will be keto-friendly.
Most sauces like ketchup contain a moderate amount of carbs i the form of added sugar. Mayonnaise and mustard are your best bet when adding flavor to your burger.
Related reading: Quick Sugar Free Mayonnaise (Low Carb/Keto/Paleo)
A McDonald’s cheeseburger served with cheese, onions, a little bit of mustard, and without the bun will only contain 2 grams of carbs, so it’s one of the safest fast food keto options out there.
The so called American cheese they use to top their 100% beef burgers is specially made for them and consists of only 60% cheese and 40% fillers.
They list the full ingedients of the cheese as milk, cream, water, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt (2% or less), citric acid, sodium phosphate, sorbic acid (preservative), lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, sodium pyrophosphate, natural flavour, colour, and soy lecithin.
3. Starbucks Hot or Cold Coffee with Sugar-free Syrup
Starbucks is a popular chain of coffee shops with thousands of branches worldwide. If you find yourself in one of its branches and wondering what to order, opt for hot or cold coffee but make sure it’s sweetened with sugar-free syrup.
Related reading: No Added Sugar Diet For Immense Health Benefits
Sugar-free syrups are a great way to sweeten your beverage without the added calories or carbs. But make sure you only stick to two pumps, equivalent to 1 gram of net carbs.
Going overboard with the syrup could knock you out of ketosis. If you want to add milk to your coffee, request almond milk. You can also choose to add heavy cream to your coffee to give it a bit of flavor.
Related reading: What Is Keto Coffee and Should You Drink It?
4. Subway Double Chicken Chopped Salad
Subway is famous for its delicious sandwiches, offering a wide range of mouthwatering sandwiches on its menu. But aside from sandwiches, they are now offering chopped salads which you can customize with vegetables and protein of your choice.
Related reading: Health Benefits of Protein for Keto
One of the most satisfying fast food keto options that you can order from Subway is the Double Chicken Chopped Salad. This salad contains only 6 grams of net carbs. It also has a good amount of protein, courtesy of the chicken. To make your salad even more keto-friendly, add slices of avocado to it.
Related reading: Health Benefits of Avocado on Keto
5. Chick-fil-A’s Grilled Chicken Nuggets
Chick-fil-A specializes in chicken sandwiches with pickles and served in toasted butter bun. But they also have other delicious food items on their menu aside from the sandwiches.
They also offer grilled chicken nuggets, which were originally introduced for children, which would be the safest option for those on the keto diet.
The nuggest are made tasty with a marinade which is listed on their website as containing water, apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, modified corn starch, salt, yeast extract, sugar, chicken breast meat, chicken broth, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, sea salt, cane molasses, spices, chicken fat, natural flavor [including smoke], lemon peel, red bell pepper, paprika, lemon juice concentrate, parsley and vinegar solids, xanthan gum, and calcium disodium EDTA.
As you will note the marinade does contain both sugar and molasses but in spite of this one order of eight nuggets only contains 2 grams of carbs.
Order a side salad with your chicken nuggets for a more satisfying meal. Chick-fil-A has a wide variety of salads on its menu. Most of these are low in carbs, but be careful with the dressings and sauces. Add them in moderation and opt for low-carb options.
Related reading: 14 Keto Salad Recipes – Tasty, Easy & Low Carb
6. In-n-Out’s Lettuce-Wrapped Burger
In-N-Out is one of the most popular fast-food restaurants in the US, specializing in beef burgers. Recently, the chain has added a healthy version of a hamburger on its menu.
Instead of the usual bun, they will serve the burger in lettuce leaves, a keto-friendly option. A bunless burger wrapped in lettuce is one of the most popular fast food keto options these days.
It’s rich in protein and essentially carb-free. In fact, it’s not only In-n-Out that’s offering this option. Other fast-food chains with a burger on their menu can also do this for you.
You can further customize the burger and make it more keto-friendly and flavorful by adding low carb toppings or additions. Cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, guacamole, and bacon if offered are your safest options.
So what do you think of these fast food keto options? Did you realize that you could manage to eat in these places while you were following a keto diet?
I’m not saying that they are the healthiest options so you wouldn’t want to make a habit of it but if you are with freinds who want to eat in these places then know that you don’t have to break your diet.