Most diets begin with the prerequisite of cutting out fast food, and for the most part, it’s a pretty fair request.
Fast food tends to be high in processed foods, saturated fats, and other substances with questionable nutritional value for you. Perhaps most importantly to those on a Keto diet, fast food also tends to be high in carbohydrates. In many cases, a single meal at a fast food restaurant will break your daily carb limit twice or three times over.
Eating out is an inevitability with certain lifestyles, so if we’re hoping to keep maintaining ketosis, we’ll need to pick and choose restaurants and meals that best align with Keto dietary needs. Luckily, there are several options to choose from.
Five Keto-Friendly Fast Food Ideas to Try
Here are five keto fast food ideas that will help you maintain your diet and keep under daily limits.
#1. Egg and Sausage Biscuits (Without the Bread)
American fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King often offer their spin on a classic breakfast item—the egg and sausage biscuit. With or without cheese, this simple meal is high in protein, low in sugars, and if you toss the bread, low in carbs.
Egg and sausage meals are great for travelers on the move and commuters that need a quick breakfast meal due to a shifting work schedule. They’re offered at almost every fast food restaurant open for breakfast, so be sure to check out regional chains and find the breakfast meal that’s right for you.
Egg and sausage meals are also great for pairing with coffee, which can help you further rise and start the day right while maintaining your ketosis.
Just be careful not to overdo it with the added sweeteners.
#2. Arby’s Meats
Thanks to a fairly provocative advertising campaign, most are aware of the large variety of meats you can find at your local Arby’s. So the next time you’re out with friends or need a quick meal, consider taking advantage of that access and loading up on healthy fats and protein.
Ordering a classic roast beef sandwich and ditching the bread can give you a freshly-cut meal that won’t throw off your diet. The company also offers corned beef, chicken, and fish in most stores across the country, so be sure to try out their other options as well.
Most of what can be ordered off of an Arby’s menu will also keep you maintain ketosis. Be careful not to order any sweetened bacon or other meats however, to keep your sugar levels low.
While it may not be the first choice for many of those on the Keto diet, a local Arby’s can provide lots in the way of versatility for anyone trying to keep under their limits.
#3. Grilled Chicken
The stable of many fast food restaurants is the fried chicken sandwich, but a quick glance at the carb count is enough to scare off even the most casual of ketogenic dieters. That’s why going with a simple grilled chicken sandwich (or better yet, a grilled chicken salad) is best to gain all of the protein from the meat without the carbs in the breading.
Americans in the South or the Southeast may be best served by a Cobb salad from Chick-fil-A—just be sure to substitute grilled chicken in for fried.
Grilled chicken is also an option at KFC, and most of their menu items can be substituted out to get you the chicken and sides you need. Speaking of sides—try to stick with green beans or other greens to make sure you keep within your limits.
Traditional burger joints like McDonald’s and Burger King also offer a grilled chicken sandwich option. With these, make sure you check online to see how many carbs you can expect with the sauces and carbs. If they seem too high for your chosen limits, ditch the bread much like with the egg and sausage biscuit and enjoy.
#4. Chipotle Salads
Whether you’re going to a national grill chain like Chipotle or something more regional, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh ingredients in a killer salad.
For example, a Chipotle salad with fresh meat keeps your carbs in check without sacrificing on taste and freshness. You can also spice things up with many of their salsas, shredded cheese, and even guacamole .
Chipotle has always been a stable for conscious eaters, and for a good reason. Regardless of whether or not a Chipotle is near you, there are many regional competitors to the company that may be in your area. Make sure there’s an online nutritional guide, and double check the values with your daily requirements to make sure you don’t go over.
#5. DIY Taco Bell
Finally, there’s everyone’s favorite place to eat late in the night.
Taco Bell may have been your saving grace in college, but unfortunately, almost nothing on the menu can be ordered as-is when trying to maintain ketosis. Their floury tortillas and taco shells tend to run high on carbs and can easily through off a good diet.
Don’t rule Taco Bell out completely, however. With the right frame of mind and clever ordering options, you can make Taco Bell work for you.
Order individual sides of meats and lettuce to combine for a quick fix, or order your favorite tacos and ditch the actual shells. Taco Bell is also very handy with their online nutritional facts so you can double-check your meal in a pinch.
Eating at Taco Bell will require some ingenuity on your part, but the result is often one of the cheapest meals you could get.
In general—eating out while on ketosis is more of a matter of remembering simple principles than asking for a “healthy” meal.
Remember to skip buns and bread when possible, never to drink sodas, and try to eat salads and straight meats. Some places will be easier than others, but these are just five of the many ways you can make a fast food restaurant with your diet.
Experiment around, always check the nutrition information online and enjoy the flexibility of a Keto diet without worrying about disrupting your ketosis.
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