For those who eat low-carb or keto diets, there is almost always something you can eat in every fast food place or restaurant. Plan ahead. Before entering a 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 stuff you should not have on a low-carb diet.
In order to make it easier to look for a quick keto-friendly option, I’ve compiled a summary of several restaurants and fast food places and those things that I’ve found to get the lowest carb (and many emotionally satisfying) choices. These are generally not all perfect options, however when you’re stuck with no other choices due to 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 easier to follow the keto plan every day. The carb count I’m listing is approximate and it is NET grams.
In general, there exists usually some salad option anywhere you might be. At Burger joints, just take away the bun, and several places offer lettuce wraps instead. Chicken shouldn’t have breading.
As a side note, it can help to get a knife and fork handy within your car or purse. Big, juicy burgers in tiny items of lettuce end up on the table – or in your lap. Small, flimsy fastfood plasticware also provides difficult eating. Take out your very own sturdy utensils and revel in!
Now for your food choices… below are a few 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. Glance at the name which may give you a clue, things like “honey” in the honey dijon or “sweet” inside the dressing name – these are generally not a great choice. Check the ingredient for items that are higher in carb content.
Chicken – Choose grilled or sauteed. Steer clear of any chicken that is breaded.
McDonald’s – choose any burger (zero g) or grilled chicken (2 g) without the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. Give a side salad (3g). The Caesar salad with grilled chicken or 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 about a full day of carbs on keto. Add a side salad (3g). The tendergrill chicken garden salad is 8g without dressing or croutons. The tendercrisp chicken salad will not be an alternative. Usually do not attempt.
BONUS – dessert!?! – the fresh apple fries usually are not fried and they are 5g net carbs WITHOUT caramel sauce.
Subway – Probably should skip Subway if you can. The buns and wraps are common rich in carbs. I assume you can just get them throw the ingredients in a wrapper sans bun, but that doesn’t sound appealing. I have no information on exactly what the carb count would be for each bunless sub, however you can probably figure it out – chicken or pepperoni is fine, but is “sweet onion” chicken okay? No idea. Stick to 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 used it and don’t love it. I like to hold my very own 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 wrapped in lettuce – fits the bill here. Meats are fine, just ensure that the ingredients are not carb-rich.
Wendy’s – Again, you can obtain your burger in a lettuce wrap or 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 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 along with other pizza places – It really is easy to get accustomed to eating pizza with no crust. You have to eat double the amount, but if there’s a party or dinner out that you can’t avoid at a pizza place, just slide the cheesy toppings off and consume the big messy pile of cheese and toppings. A side salad is a nice addition. Otherwise, just choose making pizza in the home with a low-carb crust.
Mongolian Barbecue – YES! Load up your bowl with chicken, shrimp, onion slices, and mushrooms, then top with 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). Put in a bit of garlic and wait for griller to accomplish his work. It goes without stating that you skip the appetizers, tortillas, and rice. Ask the wait szwtzs never to bring them to the table.
Italian Restaurants – These have a little cunning, nevertheless they can be conqurerd! Ideas: what about chicken Marsala in an Italian place? Ensure it doesn’t include pasta. Substitute broccoli as well as other keto-friendly side dish – or a big salad. Chicken piccata is another possibility.
Mexican and Chinese restaurants would be the most difficult, because any low carbohydrate option is not the reason to go to the restaurant to begin with. In a Mexican restaurant, I tend to obtain a large burrito without any beans and spread the soft tortilla out like a plate. Take in the inner ingredients and toss the tortilla.