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It would be amazing if a food fairy came into your kitchen every week and made all of your meals- but kitchen fairies aren’t real.
You need some real information on restaurants so you can make a good keto friendly choice when you inevitably don’t have time to meal prep.
The really important thing is not being caught off guard. Real life doesn’t follow the perfect Pinterest aesthetic and for that reason, let’s talk about some keto lunch fast food options for when real life hits.
I was talking to my Dad this weekend, and he is considering starting a keto diet! I was so excited to talk to him about keto and why i love it, but we had a big problem.
My dad travels almost every week for work and eats out THREE MEALS A DAY.
I was stopped in my tracks because all of my keto recipes require a kitchen…and a fridge…and not a restaurant.
But as we started talking and planning his macros goals together, I realized that eating out isn’t as scary as we make it seem.
I will show you how you can make any restaurant keto friendly.
Can you eat fried food on keto?
This question comes up a lot because fast food restaurants tend to love their deep fryer. When you are at a restaurant, it is much better to choose a grilled option over a fried one.
Fried food typically just means adding more calories and carbs due to the breading that is fried. Items are typically fried in flour, again, adding more carbs and unnecessary calories.
So unless you are making a fried dish at home, like these keto friendly fried pickles, then you should try to avoid fried food.
How can I make fast food keto friendly?
There are a few main things to remember when you are adapting fast food options to be keto friendly. A really big thing is that though you can decrease and avoid carbs as much as possible, you are still at the will of someone else who is preparing your food.
Meaning, you really don’t know all of the ingredients that are going into a dish.
So, we can adapt and change as much as possible but it is difficult to get a truly 100% keto meal when you are eating at a fast food restaurant.
It’s not a perfect science when eating fast food, but we can make small changes to keep it low carb.
Does that all make sense?
Whew. I hope so.
Have you gotten your free 14 day keto meal plan!
Here are some general tips to keep in mind when you are eating fast food and trying to adapt it to keto:
Always omit buns/bread
Ask for double veggies instead of pasta
Be careful of hidden carbs in sauces (honey mustard, ketchup, etc.)
Plan before you go if you can. Look up the restaurant’s nutrition options and have a game plan.
Supplement a quick fast food meal with keto snacks that will provide good fat and low carbs.
Keep it simple- choose a not fried meat, a veggie, and a fat.
Grilled over fried, every time.
Keto friendly fast food restaurants:
Uh oh. The golden arches. Do you get a little bit of anxiety when you think about what you used to order before keto?
Most certainly loaded with carbs, a typical order at McDonalds can kick you out of ketosis really quickly.
However, with a few simple substitutions, you can make some traditional McDonalds meals keto friendly!
Foods to Avoid at McDonalds
McDonalds Buns- containing 28g of carbs the bun for one sandwich is surely a keto no-go!
Ketchup Packet- Oh dear, these tiny little ketchup packets have 2g carbs! Avoid these, because they can certainly add up quickly.
Ranch Dressing- 8g of carbs per packet due to the sugar content
Keto Friendly Foods at McDonalds
Isn’t it kind of awesome that you should get a burger (no bun, no ketchup) instead of a salad? I think so!
Simply omitting the bun and extra sauce with sugar (like ketchup or mac sauce) easily makes these fast food lunches keto friendly!
You can use their nutrition calculator to remove certain items and calculate your carbs on the go! I really love that option.
Here are a few “traditional” McDonalds meals made keto-
Quarter Pounder with Cheese (no bun, no ketchup)- 340 calories and only 4g carbs per serving
McDouble (no bun, no ketchup)- 230 calories and 3g carbs per serving
Artisan Grilled Chicken (no bun)- 160 calories and 2g carbs per chicken breast
Jessica’s post on Forget Sugar Friday has some awesome breakfast options from McDonalds too:
Steak, Egg and Cheese Biscuit (no biscuit) – 4g Net Carbs; 19g Fat; 29g Protein
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit (no biscuit) – 4g Net Carbs; 13g Fat; 14g Protein
Sausage, Egg and Cheese McGriddle (no griddle cake) – 4g Net Carbs; 26g Fat; 15g Protein
Egg McMuffin (no muffin) – 3g Net Carbs; 11g Fat; 12g Protein
Scrambled Eggs – 1g Net Carbs; 8g Fat; 13g Protein
Sausage Patty – 1g Net Carbs; 18g Fat, 7g Protein
Steak Patty – 0g Net Carbs; 10g Fat; 12g Protein
Bacon – 1g Net Carbs; 4.5 Fat; 5g Protein
Folded Egg – 2g Net Carbs; 4g Fat; 6g Protein
Cheese – 1g Net Carbs; 4g Fat; 3g Protein
#2 Taco Bell:
I love Taco Bell. I have no idea why, but their tacos are ah-mazing.
Eating keto at Taco Bell isn’t as hard as you think.
Foods to Avoid at Taco Bell:
Keto Options at Taco Bell:
Keto Connect does an awesome job reviewing Taco Bell’s food for keto worthiness. They suggest three different options to try:
Mini Skillet Bowl (Breakfast)- Sub potatoes for extra meat, Bowl: Eggs, steak, cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, creamy chipotle sauce.
Calories: 490 and Net Carbs: 5g
Fiesta Taco Salad with Chicken- “Order the Fiesta Taco Salad and ask for no beans, no rice, no shell, and no Red Stripes (chips). This ensures your salad is filled with only the good stuff – lettuce, cheese, chicken, sour cream, tomatoes and salsa. Don't forget to add guac if you want more fat. This meal costs about $5.95.” Keto Connect. Calories 210 Carbs 10g
Power Menu Bowl (this one is my faaave!)- No rice, no beans. This means you are left with chicken/steak, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, guace, and Avocado Ranch. Calories 330 net carbs 6g.
#3 Subway (works for Jimmy Johns, Jersey Mike’s, etc.)
Subway is pretty much everywhere. You can make any sub into a salad really easily. They have great veggie options as well as a variety of meat options making keto a realistic option!
Skip the bread, watch for hidden sugars/carbs in dressings!
Perfect Keto suggests using oil and vinegar instead of a premade dressing from Subway.
Their subway recommendations for keto include:
*all omit bread and dressing
The great thing about Wendy’s is that similar to McDonalds you can make nearly any grilled sandwhich keto!
By skipping the bun and asking for a lettuce bun instead, and skipping sugar filled sauces like ketchup- you can make a pretty hearty keto meal!
Jessica has done the hard work for us and provided us with a huge amount of keto options from Wendy’s.
You can check out her full post here if Wendy’s is your fave restaurant!
Keto options at Wendy’s
Grilled Asiago Ranch Chicken Club (no bun) – 3g Net Carbs; 20g Fat; 39g Protein (vs. 33g Net Carbs)
Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no bun) – 4g Net Carbs; 7g Fat; 29g Protein (vs. 35g Net Carbs)
Note: Can be reduced to <1g net carbs if you remove the Smoky Honey Mustard.
S’Awesome Bacon Cheeseburger (no bun) – 7g Net Carbs; 37g Fat; 29g Protein (vs. 37g Net Carbs)
Peppercorn Mushroom Melt (no bun, no onions) – 5g Net Carbs; 33g Fat; 25g Protein (vs. 43g Net Carbs)
Dave’s Single (no bun, no ketchup) – 5g Net Carbs; 31g Fat; 24g Protein (vs. 37g Net Carbs)
Son of Baconator (no bun, no ketchup) – 4g Net Carbs; 37g Fat; 29g Protein (vs. 36g Net Carbs)
Baconator (no bun, no ketchup) – 5g Net Carbs; 60g Fat; 53g Protein (vs. 38g Net Carbs)
Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (no bun) – 3g Net Carbs; 21g Fat; 15g Protein (vs. 24g Net Carbs)
Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe (no bun, no ketchup) – 3g Net Carbs; 17g Fat; 12g Protein (vs. 25g Net Carbs)
Jr. Cheeseburger (no bun, no ketchup) – 1g Net Carbs; 12g Fat; 12g Protein (vs. 25g Net Carbs)
Jr. Hamburger (no bun, no ketchup) – 1g Net Carbs; 8g Fat; 10g Protein (vs. 24g Net Carbs)
Double Stack (no bun, no ketchup) – 3g Net Carbs; 19g Fat; 20g Protein (vs. 25g Net Carbs)
Parmesan Caesar Chicken Salad (half-size) – 5g Net Carbs; 20g Fat; 29g Protein
Taco Salad (no chili, taco chips, or salsa; half-size) – 10g Net Carbs; 16g Fat; 12g Protein (vs. 54g Net Carbs)
Caesar Side Salad (no croutons) – 5g Net Carbs; 14g Fat; 9g Protein (vs. 17g Net Carbs)
Garden Side Salad (no croutons, with Ranch Dressing; Caesar Dressing adds 1g Net Carbs) – 5g Net Carbs; 14g Fat; 5g Protein (vs. 25g Net Carbs)” - Forget Sugar Friday
#5 Chipotle (also works for Qdoba, Moe’s etc.)
Chipotle is such a great option because they have high quality ingredients unlike other fast food options.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when eating Chipotle on keto:
Avoid rice, tortillas, and tortilla chips
Avoid beans if you are doing stricter keto
Limit salsa because it can have hidden sugar (and therefore hidden carbs)
Double your meat in place of rice.
PIck a burrito bowl instead of a burrito or taco (tortillas=carbs!)
So keep it simple when you are picking the ingredients for your burrito bow! There are a ton of options to chose from as well, so you won’t get bored.
Choose your protein (chicken, steak, grilled veggies, etc.) Double your meat as well for added substance and less carbs
Add your toppings: I love this post from Natural Force which shows some awesome topping options for the keto diet at Chipotle-
When selecting your toppings, stick with the high fat and/or low carb toppings we've listed here. High Fat:
Salsas (Except for the Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa)
No chips for you! But you won’t miss it because your meal is loaded with low carb, high fat options- you don’t need carbs that won’t fuel you anyway!
The way to my heart- caffeine.
I used to work at Starbucks back in the day. I was slingin lattes and overcaffinating for 3 years.
If you didn’t know, Starbucks gives free drinks to their employees while they are working. It was the absolute best. BUT, it didn’t help with my budding caffeine addiction.
My absolute favorite drink from Starbucks is one that is SO bad for you- the white mocha. Oh, we loved us some white mocha.
But the good news is that you can drink Starbucks and you don’t have to be kicked out of ketosis. But we avoid the white mocha, no matter how addicting it may be 😏
A few key rules to stick by when ordering Starbucks on Keto:
Use full fat milk when you can (heavy cream or half and half). Reduced fat, or skim milk is loaded with sugar and carbs that you don’t need.
Almond milk is a good non dairy option but has 4g net carbs per cup, so do be careful with this one.
Sugar free syrup is the way to go if you need a sugar shot
Plain coffee and tea are awesome options!
Here are some keto friendly Starbucks orders you can try ASAP:
Skinny Mocha: how to order- Skinny Mocha with 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 water
Americano with Cream: how to order- Americano with heavy cream
Keto White Drink": I guess i didn’t know this was a thing but it sounds yummy! Its basically a peaches and cream drink. how to order- Unsweetened Peach Citrus White Tea with a splash of heavy cream, 2-4 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, no water, and light ice.
Brewed/ Iced Tea: tea is a super great option. be sure to order unsweetened. You can add your own keto friendly sugar or get some splenda/sweet n low etc.
Brewed/Iced Coffee: again, order iced coffee unsweetened. You can also add heavy cream or half and half if you want a creamy treat!
Keto Pink Drink: this one is super popular and delicious. how to order- Iced passion tango tea, sugar-free vanilla syrup, and heavy cream.