Choosing the best keto dining out options while dining out can prove to be intimidating when you first embark on a keto diet. This is especially true if what you are wanting is keto fast food.
Can you agree that making the decision to eat healthily is challenging? That’s why no one needs the added stress of trying to figure out what to eat when dining out.
Let’s face it eating out is not going out of style any time soon. Busy people won’t stop eating out just because they are on a low carb diet.
But the good news is that you can eat out and even order from your favorite drive-throughs while still adhering to a ketogenic diet.
Wanting quick and convenient ways to eat keto is totally possible as long as you keep certain things in mind.
A keto diet is high in fat, low in carbs, and moderate in protein. The good news is that while most fast foods tend to be on the higher end of carbs, there are plenty of low carb keto-friendly options to choose from.
The question is, how can someone doing a low carb diet avoid potential pitfalls when dining out? I’m going to share my fast food keto options when dining out and will give you the confidence to choose wisely.
It’s important to keep in mind not every person doing a keto diet has the same macro needs, so keep that in mind when you choose what restaurant to order from.
Keto Fast Food
We all know that eating homemade is always best, but sometimes a quick low carb fast-food choice is the only way to go when life gets hectic.
The main thing to keep in mind, is that this won’t be a clean keto meal. This is because even when you avoid the obvious carbs, there are many hidden ingredients used to prepare the food that you may not be able to entirely avoid.
Having said that, I would rather you have a “dirty” keto meal than to fall off the diet completely because you need a quick choice.
Doing your research before choosing a fast food meal while doing keto is key. It’s vital to go prepared when eating out. If necessary do your homework by looking online for a copy of the restaurant’s menu. If you plan ahead you won’t be overwhelmed when you’re ready to place your order.
Be willing to ask questions regarding how the food is prepared. It’s not difficult to swap high carb options for fast food low carb options, you just need to be willing to ask.
Remember you’re a paying customer entitled to request what you need. Being clear and polite goes a long way when ordering off-menu.
When choosing a burger, order it lettuce wrapped and ditch the bun. Most restaurants offer a bunless option. It’s a good choice when the menu items are limited.
If the restaurant won’t offer to lettuce-wrap your burger, just have your burger bunless and say no to any of the high carb toppings. To round out your meal ask for a side salad.
Some great examples of keto-friendly burger meals include:
- Wendy’s Double Stack Cheeseburger (without the bun): 260 calories, 20 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs.
- McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger (without the bun): 270 calories, 20 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs.
- Burger King Double Whopper with cheese (no bun): 330 calories, 34 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs.
- Sonic Double Bacon Cheeseburger (no bun): 640 calories, 40 grams of protein, 49 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs.
Bunless Chicken Sandwich
Just like ditching the bun when ordering a burger makes sense, so is the case when ordering a chicken sandwich. Just keep in mind that it needs to be a grilled chicken option.
Some delicious examples of keto-friendly fast-food chicken meals include:
- Burger King grilled chicken sandwich sans bun: 325 calories, 29 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs.
- Chick-fil grilled nuggets: 130 calories, 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs
- Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich without the bun: 275 calories, 29 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs
When choosing a salad from a fast-food restaurant keep in mind that the amount of carbs will vary greatly. It’s important to select only those that will not kick you out of ketosis.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a salad is an automatic healthy choice. Many of the popular salads in fast-food restaurants have high carb toppings such as dried fruit and sugar-laden dressings.
The following salads will fit your keto macros and help you stay within the keto diet:
- Arby’s roast turkey farmhouse salad: 230 calories, 20 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs.
- Chipotle steak salad bowl: 400 calories, 30 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs.
- McDonald’s bacon ranch grilled chicken salad: 350 calories, 40 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs.
What To Order When Eating Out While Doing Keto?
For starters, pass the complimentary bread that most restaurants offer. Let them know as soon as they take your drink order that you will not be wanting the bread.
This way you won’t be tempted with a basket full of carbs right in front of you. Saying no to the bread even before it arrives is one of my favorite fast food low carb ordering hacks. Plus, having passed the test of saying no to bread will make it easier to order keto.
I recommend that you look for dishes cooked simply. Stay away from items with complicated sauces. Generally the simpler the dish the most likely you can consume it without the worry of hidden carbs. If it’s a meal that has sauce, be sure to inquire it was thickened with any form of starch.
This is important since many establishments use flour to thicken theirs. Swap starchy sides for green vegetables or side salad. Don’t forget to say no to the croutons in your salad, no need to fish them out when you can avoid them altogether.
Why not consider ordering breakfast for dinner? Many restaurants serve breakfast all day long. Order an omelet and ask for extra vegetables. Pass on the carb-loaded potato hash browns and order extra bacon or sausage instead.
What about dessert? Why not order a small bowl of whipped cream? Most places won’t even charge you for this. This is a great solution especially when others are ordering carb-rich desserts.
There are only about 2 carbs per two tablespoons of whipped cream so its something to opt for. Just a small amount may be just what you need to get you over the temptation to order dessert.
Sometimes stopping at a fast-food restaurant is your only option when dining. This is especially true when traveling. Don’t lose hope you can still make a healthy choice. created a great infographic that can assist you in choosing your best option to stay in ketosis.
Knowing ahead of time how many carbs are in any given meal, will be very beneficial.
Don’t make eating out an excuse to not stay on your low carb plan. There are always good alternatives when dining out. It’s encouraging to see that more restaurants are making eating low carb easier.
The consumer always dictates the market. The tide is turning and there are fast food low carb options to choose from. The day will soon come that eating a low carb keto diet will become mainstream.