For those 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 stuff you shouldn’t 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 things that I’ve found to become the best carb (and many emotionally satisfying) choices. These are not every perfect options, but when you’re saddled with not one other choices due to time or location constraints, they’ll do in a pinch.
It’s an enormous help that fast-food places are required to post nutritional content. It gets much easier to stick to the keto plan every day. The carb count I’m listing is approximate and is also NET grams.
In general, there is usually some salad option anywhere you happen to be. At Burger joints, just remove the bun, and many places offer lettuce wraps instead. Chicken shouldn’t have breading.
As a side note, it helps to possess a knife and fork handy inside your car or purse. Big, juicy burgers in tiny items of lettuce end up on the table – or perhaps in your lap. Small, flimsy fastfood plasticware also makes for difficult eating. Pull out your personal sturdy utensils and enjoy!
Now for the food choices… here are a few pretty obvious general rules to follow along with:
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. Look at the name which may offer you a clue, things like “honey” in the honey dijon or “sweet” inside the dressing name – these are usually not a great choice. Check the ingredient for things that are higher in carb content.
Chicken – Choose grilled or sauteed. Stay away from any chicken that is certainly breaded.
McDonald’s – opt for any burger (zero g) or grilled chicken (2 g) without the bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. Add a side salad (3g). The Caesar salad with grilled chicken or even the bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken are 9g.
Burger King – same burger info as McDonald’s: burger (zero g) with no bun and topped with cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, etc. No ketchup. The tendergrill chicken sandwich without the bun is 3g. BEWARE – you might think the veggie burger is low, however it is 19g of carbs, so that’s in regards to a full day of carbs on keto. Give a side salad (3g). The tendergrill chicken garden salad is 8g without dressing or croutons. The tendercrisp chicken salad is not really an alternative. Do not attempt.
BONUS – dessert!?! – the new apple fries are certainly not fried and therefore 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 guess you could just get them throw the ingredients in a wrapper sans bun, but that doesn’t sound appealing. I have no information on what the carb count would be for each and every bunless sub, however, you can probably figure it all out – chicken or pepperoni is fine, but is “sweet onion” chicken okay? No idea. 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 part of lettuce for easy low carbohydrate eating. (As I’ve said, I tried it and don’t enjoy it. I like to transport 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 wrapped in lettuce – fits the bill here. Meats are fine, just make sure the ingredients usually are not carb-rich.
Wendy’s – Again, you can get the burger in a lettuce wrap or perhaps a box. Any burger with toppings. Mayo has corn syrup, and is 1g. The chicken grill fillet is 1 g. It can be ordered in 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 and other pizza places – It is possible to get used to eating pizza with no crust. You should eat twice as much, however, if there’s an event or dinner out which you can’t avoid in a pizza place, just slide the cheesy toppings off and eat the big messy pile of cheese and toppings. A side salad is actually a nice addition. Otherwise, just choose making pizza at 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 a griller to accomplish his work. It is going without saying that you skip the appetizers, tortillas, and rice. Ask the wait szwtzs to not bring them to the table.
Italian Restaurants – These require a little cunning, but they can be conqurerd! Ideas: what about chicken Marsala inside an Italian place? Ensure it doesn’t include pasta. Substitute broccoli or some other keto-friendly side dish – or even a big salad. Chicken piccata is yet another possibility.
Mexican and Chinese restaurants are the most difficult, because any low carbohydrate choice is not the main reason to go to the restaurant in the first place. At a Mexican restaurant, I tend to get a large burrito with no beans and spread the soft tortilla out like a plate. Consume the inner ingredients and toss the tortilla.