While the keto diet is restrictive by nature, there are still keto fast foods a person can order in many restaurants if they plan ahead and choose wisely.
The is a restrictive diet that prioritizes calorie intake from fats and strictly limits carbohydrate intake.
It can be difficult to find food to eat while adhering to the diet, especially while dining out.
However, a number of common fast food and to-go items may actually be suitable as keto fast foods if a person factors them into their desired macronutrient ratio.
Below is a list of 15 keto fast foods available in many popular restaurants.
Note that not all keto diets will allow for these foods, as some may be more restrictive than others.
Be sure to check the label and nutrition content of each item to see if it will fit into a specific diet plan.
Many fast-food restaurants already offer low-carb or keto-friendly versions of popular meals.
Many fast-food staples can also be made keto-friendly by making some slight changes and removing certain ingredients.
Here are some examples:
Burgers with no bun
Burgers are a fast-food staple, though the bun and some added condiments may make them inappropriate for people on keto diets.
Many fast-food chains take this into consideration and offer a lower-carb version of their burgers without a bun.
They may wrap the ingredients in a lettuce leaf to keep the structure similar to a burger, or simply package the ingredients in a wrapper with no bun.
For example, the fast-food chain In-N-Out offers their signature burgers “protein style,” meaning they replace the bun with a lettuce wrap. Their Double-double with onion usually contains 39 grams of carbohydrates. Protein style, this same burger contains 11g total carbohydrates.
While removing the bun may take away many carbohydrates, it is also important to pay attention to added condiments on the burger.
Condiments such as ketchup or relish can contain sugar, which will increase the carbohydrates in the meal.
Full-fat mayonnaise tends to be high-fat and low-carb and can make a great alternative condiment for keto fast foods.
Breadless subs and sandwiches
Some fast-food chains may offer other options without bread to help people reduce their carbohydrate intake.
For example, a chain might prepare a “breadless sub” using the same sandwich ingredients as a regular sub, but placing them on a bed of lettuce instead of inside a roll. This can greatly reduce the carbohydrates in a meal.
For example, the chain Subway offers many of its signature subs as salads as well. Subway’s 6-inch black forest ham sub contains 42g of total carbohydrates. In comparison, a black forest ham salad contains 12g of total carbohydrates.
Again, keep in mind that adding some dressings and condiments will add carbohydrates to these meals, so choose accordingly.
Tortillas from burritos are higher in carbs than other options. Many fast-food chains offer burrito bowls. These are bowls that contain the same ingredients as the burrito, without the tortilla.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is one example. The company offers a range of items made without tortillas.
Keep in mind that other ingredients in burritos, such as rice and beans, can contain higher levels of carbohydrates than are usually allowed on keto diets.
El Pollo Loco offers a version of their double protein avocado Pollo fit bowl as a salad, which contains about 9g net carbs.
Some chains may offer specific options suitable for many diets, including the keto diet.
Chipotle offers a Keto Salad Bowl that uses a base of supergreens instead of beans, rice, or a tortilla.
With the standard ingredients, the Keto Salad Bowl contains 17g of total carbohydrates. However, 10g of these are fiber, so the net carbs are much lower.
Many fast food restaurants offer chicken options, though sometimes the chicken found in sandwiches or other meal options comes breaded and fried. This increases the carbohydrates in the meal and may make it unsuitable for keto diets.
Opting for grilled chicken over fried chicken where possible can help cut out flour and unnecessary carbohydrates in a meal.
For example, KFC is popular for their fried chicken options, but they also offer a grilled chicken option.
Each piece of KFC grilled chicken contains 0g of carbs.
Many fast-food restaurants offer breakfast options. These options often include foods such as eggs, which are a simple, keto-friendly food.
Looking for options based around eggs may provide a simple and filling meal that is lower in carbohydrates.
For example, some Mcdonald’s breakfast options are keto-friendly with a few changes. Their Big Breakfast, made without the biscuit or hash browns, contains just 3g of carbohydrates.
While typical chicken nuggets may contain breading or flour that is unsuitable for keto diets, some restaurants offer nuggets that can fit into a keto diet.
For example, Chick-fil-A offers grilled chicken nuggets. A 12-piece serving contains just 2g of carbs.
Keep in mind that other ingredients such as dipping sauces can contain carbohydrates and sugars themselves, so pay attention to the low-carb options each restaurant has before adding them to a meal.
Larger, entree-sized salads from a number of fast-food chains may actually make suitable options for some keto diets, and provide enough energy to keep a person full.
Many fast food restaurants will offer salads, though some of them may require tailoring to fit into a keto diet. Ingredients to look out for include sweetened dressings, as well as add-ons such as croutons or breaded chicken.
With this said, a number of salads come keto-friendly.
For example, Arby’s offers an entree-size roast chicken salad that provides only 8g of total carbs per serving.
Wendy’s offers a Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad that contains 13g carbs, with 7g of this being fiber.
While not a traditional choice for on-the-go eating, an order of buffalo wings may be a simple keto-friendly option in some cases.
For example, Buffalo Wild Wings offers traditional style Original Buffalo wings that contain 2g of total carbs per 6-wing serving.
While many common fast-food side dishes, such as fries and chips, are off-limits on a keto diet, there are a number of snack options available to-go that may fit into the keto diet.
Eggs are naturally low in carbs and a good source of protein. Hard-boiled eggs are a convenient way to enjoy eggs and are available at many takeaway restaurants, convenience stores, and gas stations.
Hard-boiled eggs contain under
String cheese is a simple snack containing only cheese. The cheese sticks tend to be individually wrapped, making them a simple on-the-go snack option.
The USDA note that one 24g stick of string cheese contains about
Nut butter packets
Single serving nut butter packets make a filling snack for many people adhering to a keto diet.
For example, Justin’s offers many nut butter options that come in simple 32-gram squeeze packs, perfect for on-the-go snacking.
Each Justin’s Classic almond butter packet contains 5g total carbs, with 3g coming from dietary fiber.
Jerky is another readily available option for people on the keto diet. Companies may make jerky from a number of foods, such as:
The meats and jerky themselves are naturally low in carbs.
However, be aware of any added ingredients used in the seasonings.
Popular flavors of jerky, such as teriyaki, can contain higher levels of sugars than a person may want in their keto-friendly snacks.
Other snack options
While these are a few easily available snack options for a keto diet, there are other options to choose from.
Other snacks which may be keto-friendly include:
- nuts, such as macadamias, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or peanuts
- seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- pork rinds
- specific keto-friendly chips made from cheese, nuts, or meat
- tuna snacks without the crackers
Be aware of any added ingredients and check the label for full nutritional information
Many restaurants and corner stores stock a selection of keto-friendly drinks. These include:
Coffee or tea with half-and-half
Black coffee and unsweetened tea make simple drink alternatives at most fast-food restaurants, where sugar-sweetened beverages may add unwanted carbohydrates to a drink.
For a bit of extra flavor, opting for half-and-half creamer can make for a more satisfying drink without adding too many carbs.
The USDA note that half-and-half creamer contains about
Tea with lemon
Many fast food restaurants offer hot tea as a beverage choice.
Hot black or green tea is simply tea leaves and water, so it contains no carbohydrates on its own.
Adding a lemon wedge to the hot tea can provide a brighter flavor than the tea alone, which may be more satisfying for some drinkers.
Some fast food locations offer carbonated water or soda water.
This is a carb-free option that can provide a similar bubbly feeling as soda.
Adding citrus fruits such as lemon or lime to the water can help provide some extra flavor.
Most diet sodas have low or no sugar and are available at most fast-food restaurants.
For example, a 12 fluid ounce can of Diet Coke contains 0g carbohydrate and 0g of sugar.
Most widely-available diet sodas are similarly low-carb and sugar-free.
The keto diet heavily restricts carbohydrates.
While fast food and to-go options may seem off-limits, there are a number of fast-food options for people on keto diets.
Always pay attention to added ingredients such as sauces, which can contain sugars and other forms of carbohydrates.