Imagine you’re out with your friends with whom you haven’t seen in a long while and the topic of food suddenly came up as it’s already lunchtime. They all want something fast and filling, but you’re on a diet but don’t want to be a buzz kill. So what do you do? Or you forgot your diet-friendly home-cooked meal and you wonder if there are any keto-friendly fast food alternatives near your office. Do you skip lunch, or just risk everything?
Believe it or not, while fast-food meals are notorious for their high-calorie content, heavy use of carbs, artificial sweeteners, and additives, you don’t need to go hungry or sacrifice a meal as even those who are on specific diets, like Keto, can find keto-friendly meals in fast-food restaurants that won’t slide one back to weight gain. Hard to believe but there Keto-friendly fast-food meals.
What to know about fast food
Of course, news about the not so healthy food choices in many fast-food chains is true. Use of too many unhealthy cooking oils, excessive use of additives and seasoning that can be harmful to health, reliance on carbohydrates, especially with high sugar, carbonated and too sweet beverages, and the like. Recently, however, healthier fast-food chains have sprung up, and even existing ones have included in their menu diet-friendly meals. Of course, there are still a lot of usual fast-food restaurants that still contain food that can take you back to square one. You can still avoid sliding back, however, especially when you’re on a keto diet by careful planning and knowing the basics of your diet.
In Keto, for example, carbs are eliminated so are sugars and harmful fats. So what keto-friendly fast food to order?
Fast food choices
So if you’re on a keto diet, try to stick to the basics by eliminating buns or opting out from deep-fried foods, or not choosing dressings that contain too many sugars and carbs.
Here are some fast-food restaurants, and keto-friendly fast food options.
One of the cheapest fast-food restaurants out there, you can still stick to your keto diet by ordering a Double Cheeseburger or Quarter pounder without the bun. Make sure not to go overboard with the allowable protein and fat servings per day in keto. McDonald’s also has Chicken salad, which is good for keto but sticks to salad dressings like Caesar’s or vinaigrette.
2. Burger King
Slightly better than McDonald’s as they have charcoal-grilled burgers instead of deep-fried ones which are high in trans fat. Keto-friendly choices include bacon cheeseburger, triple whopper, and Whopper sandwich but of course without the bun. Salads with protein too are available such as garden side salad – but a request for olive oil instead of their usual salad dressing. Another good keto-friendly option is the grilled chicken club salad.
While chicken meals in KFC are unfortunately deeply fried and fried chicken have high oil absorbability because it easily absorbs oil and higher carb content, you can opt for grilled chicken that some franchises offer. Order thigh or breast part which contains ample levels of fat. Side dishes with minimal carbs are available too such as coleslaw or green beans.
Another fast food with plenty of restaurants around the US, you can still follow your keto diet with their selection of burgers – but just make sure to remove the bun. Some keto-friendly food options that you can order are the grilled chicken sandwich (minus the bread), chicken BLT, Baconator, Double stack, and Bacon cheeseburger. Wendys too have a salad bar, just limit your vegetables to the leafy ones that have low carbs and opt for avocado ranch dressing. Other pre-packed salads are available but just remove the croutons.
One of the famous Mexican and fast-food restaurants as Chipotle is best known for its fresh produce and sustainable farming practices. It’s quite easy to order a keto-friendly meal due to Chipotle’s wide selection. Opt for any low carb salad and pair it with meat-based protein like chicken, carnitas, steak, or barbecue. You can opt-out with the salad dressing as the salad comes with salad and guacamole – an avocado-based dressing that fits the keto diet.
More selection compared to KFC, those who are on a Keto diet can still maintain their diet by just ordering keto-friendly fast fast meals like chicken nuggets or Cobb salad with grilled chicken with avocado ranch dressing. Coleslaw is also a good option as the carb content is quite minimal.
7. Five Guys
One of the pricier fast food or burger restaurants in the US, Five Guys has gained a large following with their tasty burgers. You can order their keto-friendly burgers such as bacon burger, cheeseburger, little cheeseburger, little bacon burger, little bacon cheeseburger but have it wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun. The calories are quite high, so try to stick to the allowable caloric intake per day. The salad and burger sauces too are low in carbs.
8. Taco Bell
This fast-food restaurant may not exactly be ideal for those on a keto diet, but there are keto-friendly choices that one can try such as the Chicken power bowl but make sure to order without the rice and beans to eliminate the carbs. You can also choose keto-friendly bacon and sausage taco, but without the taco shells. The filling has potatoes so request yours without.
Not exactly a fast-food chain but this chain has so many branches and a go-to place for lunch or snacks. Starbucks has keto-friendly food in its selection such as the Sous Vide Egg bites bacon and Gruyere and Pepper egg bites. Of course, food in Starbucks is more expensive compared to other fast-food restaurants.
While Subway is more of a sandwich shop, you can order salads which are also tasty like their famous sandwiches. The good thing too, you can customize your salad and add more protein like chicken, bacon, smoked ham, and the like. Remove the croutons to make your salad carb-free.
Must-do in a fast-food restaurant
Of course, a home-prepared keto diet meal or those customized by Keto restaurants are irreplaceable and healthier compared to Fast food restaurants. However, if push comes to shove and only fast-food restaurants are available, then just try to choose a meal that has minimal carbs, less bad fats, and sugar. Always remember though to carefully look at the menu and read the contents of the salad dressings if there are hidden carbs and seasonings. Again, since most fast-food restaurants offer burgers and sandwiches, remove or request the buns to be removed or replaced with lettuce wraps.