Some of our best moments are shared over meals, and just because you’re eating a ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you can’t share a meal or fast food snack with friends. Despite what you may have heard, keto and weight loss is sustainable when eating out!
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We’ve made it easy for you with our list of the best keto friendly fast food joints and restaurants. Below there’s a breakdown from standard fast food restaurants, all the way to sit down fast casual. If you’re unsure of what’s keto near you, read through this guide and begin ordering like a pro!
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9 Tips for Eating Out On Keto
Here’s how to make your favorite spots into keto friendly low carb restaurants:
- Skip on the full sugar soft drinks- Personally we like to choose low carb options like diet coke or diet Pepsi.
- Watch out for “butter” that’s really margarine- Most of the time we think butter means keto options, however often times the little packets of butter you get are margarine, and the butter “flavor” in meals is actually vegetable oils.
- With salads, when in doubt, use olive oil (or oil and vinegar) as dressing and add avocado for healthy fat. You will also want to skip any high carb toppings such as bread, croutons, or candied anything.
- Sauces like BBQ, teriyaki, and honey mustard are loaded with sugar — if you’re desperate for extra flavor, ranch dressing is typically the safer choice.
- If choosing a side, play it safe with low-carb veggies like cauliflower, asparagus, or mushrooms. You can also ask for something like a chicken salad or side salad.
- Check salads for croutons.
- Ask for any breaded items (from appetizer to filet) to be grilled instead.
- Avoid all bread — yes, even the free stuff before the meal. Sandwiches should be without the bun or wrapped in lettuce to be keto friendly fast food.
- Be sure to clearly say “no sauce or ketchup!” Even keto fast food restaurants can slip up sometimes.
Keto Friendly Fast Food
One of the biggest lies about the keto diet is that it’s time consuming and expensive. Life happens, though, and there’s not always time for meal prep.
If you find yourself needing a cheap and quick option for eating out, we’ve got your keto-friendly fast-food options covered. Enjoy efficient weight loss and optimized health, even in a drive-through. Here’s what to order as low carb options in these fast casual and fast food restaurants.
We know what you’re thinking: a low-carb option at McDonalds? Yes, it is possible! Typical McDonalds fast food is high in carbs, but there are ways to make a keto fast food meal here. Here’s what to order at Mickey D’s.
- Sausage, Egg and Cheese McMuffin Breakfast Sandwiches (no English muffin): 4g net carbs, 26g of fat, and 15g of protein
- Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit (no biscuit): 4g net carbs, 13g of fat, and 14g of protein
- Pico Guacamole with Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (without the bun): 6g net carbs, 19g of fat, and 29g of protein
- Big Mac (Without the bun, no ketchup or sauce): 5g net carbs, 25g of fat, and 18g of protein
- Quarter Pounder with Cheese (no bun or ketchup): 4g net carbs, 24g of fat, and 24g of protein
Warning: you may want to remember how much you love the keto if you start to smell french fries. That delicious scent is the enemy of your low carb diet. Always go in mentally prepared to say, “NO”! And yes, that goes for an order of hash browns too…
At Taco Bell our low carb advice is to steer clear of tortillas, don’t be afraid to customize, and remember to add some healthy fats. Most fast food restaurants will allow you to get meals in a bowl or protein style for your low carb diet. When ordering at Taco Bell, just ask for no shell and in a bowl instead. Our three favorite keto-friendly options we like to customize at Taco Bell are:
- Mini Skillet Bowl (no potatoes, add beef, guacamole, sour cream, and creamy chipotle sauce): 6g net carbs, 46g of fat, and 14g of protein
- Fiesta Taco Salad with Chicken (no shell, no rice and beans, or tortilla strips, add guacamole for a high-fat boost): 10g net carbs, 9g of fat, 21g of protein
- Power Menu Bowl (no rice or beans, add lettuce and bacon): 8g net carbs, 24g of fat, 21g of protein
If Taco Bell isn’t leaving you satisfied and you’re still craving Mexican food, check out our keto enchilada recipe.
Chick-fil-A has quite a few low carb options if you go bunless, get grilled chicken, and skip the sauces. We know this is many peoples favorite fast food place, and we love it there too! The ingredients taste fresh and Chick-fil-A has the nicest employees by far! And a heads up: their buffalo sauce has 0g net carbs if you’re dying to dip! Here’s what we like:
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no bun, pickles are fine): 3g net carbs, 2g of fat, and 21g of protein
- Grilled Nuggets (eight count, no sauces): 2g net carbs, 2g of fat, and 21g protein
- Side Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing: 11g net carbs
They have some of the freshest keto fast food and a great low carb option for salad and chicken sandwiches on the go. A chicken sandwich without the bun is perfect for a keto diet that wants to also watch overall calories.
Wendy’s affinity for bacon makes it an excellent choice for your keto fast food meal. Here’s the rundown on how to get a low carb option for a cheeseburger:
- Breakfast Baconator (no bun): 5g net carbs, 50g of fat, and 31g of protein
- Dave’s Single (no bun, no ketchup): 5g net carbs, 31g of fat, and 24g of protein
- Peppercorn Mushroom Melt (no bun or onions): 5g net carbs, 33g of fat, and 25g of protein
- Son of Baconator (no bun or ketchup): 4g net carbs; 37g of fat, and 29g of protein
- Caesar Salad (no croutons): 5g net carbs, 14g of fat, and 9g of protein
Wendy’s also offers a lettuce wrap so you can get the satisfaction of biting into your burger while still being on a keto diet. Try adding cheese and bacon to any plain burger order for a higher fat count.
Carl’s Jr/ Hardees
Carl’ s jr or Hardees is a great high fat fast food option that can easily be made low carb. Whether you want a burger, salad, or sandwich Carl’ s Jr has you covered. Here’s what to order:
- The Monster Biscuit: 4g net carbs, 48g of fat, 29g of protein
- The Guacamole Bacon Thickburger: 9g of net carbs, 44g of fat, 39g of protein
- The Charbroiled Chicken Club: 13g of net carbs, 22g of fat, 24g protein.
Carl’ s Jr also does all their food “low carb style”, which is where they press a button notifying the kitchen of your keto request. If this isn’t keto fast food at its finest I don’t know what is!
If charbroiled burgers from Burger King are your favorite, then it’s time to make them keto-friendly! Here are a few menu items that pair well with a side garden salad.
- Bacon King (no bun, no ketchup)
- Sausage Egg and Cheese (No croissant)
- Whopper (no bun, no ketchup)
Burger King similar to Wendy’s has a lot of keto fast food burger options. Just remember to skip sauces, ketchup, and yes even that tasty order of fries. Once you’ve done that your keto fast food at Burger King is complete!
Upping the Satiation of Fast Food
If you’re eating low carb bunless burgers and just don’t leave full we have a few extra tips for you. Protein and fat are very satiating, but if you are coming from a standard American diet you may be used to eating more volume. Here are a few tricks to bump up the volume of meals for few carbs when your still getting fat adapted:
- Ask for a side salad– Most fast food restaurants have side salads that you can add to your meal for extra fiber and bulk. Just make sure to choose a low carb dressing and ask for no bread or croutons.
- Order steamed vegetables on the side- This is something you will see more in fast casual restaurants than fast food, but if they have the option steamed veggies are another great way to add bulk to a meal. It’s even better if they offer real butter or cheese to put on top
- Get the “carb-less” extras- These are low calorie dense fresh vegetables that are also low carb. Add things like tomato, pickles, lettuce, cucumber, and olives to your meal to fill you up with fewer added and refined carbs.
These are some of our favorite ways to add extra volume without upping the carbs of your meal too much. These tips should help you feel fuller after coming off of a high carb, high volume standard American diet.
Keto Friendly Restaurants
So what if it’s date night or dinner with friends? There’s no need to eat before you go! We’ve rounded up your tastiest options for low carb fast food restaurants, from Italian to Tex-Mex.
This fast food chain tops this list of keto friendly restaurants for us: the ingredients are clean and the variety is incredible. It’s practically perfect! The salad bowl is absolutely the way to go– the burrito bowl, burrito, and tacos are obviously not keto due to tortillas, rice, and beans. Here are our favorite Keto Chipotle meals:
- Salad Bowl (with lettuce, barbacoa, tomato salsa, green chili salsa, sour cream, guac, and cheese): 23 grams of carbs, 45.5g of fat, and 35g of protein- A great high fat low carb option.
- Salad Bowl (with lettuce, chicken, tomatillo red salsa, cheese, and guacamole): 15g net carb, 36.5g of fat, and 41g of protein
- DIY: any combo of meat, cheese, salsas, guac, sautéed veggies, and lettuce.
Side note: carnitas is the most keto-friendly meat, with 12g of fat and 0 net carbs.
Normal Mexican fast food would be high in carbs, but Chipotle provides many low carb/ keto
Yes, it’s called Panera Bread, but no, you don’t have to carb-load. Panera bread is a fast casual restaurant perfect for keto fast food. If you’re craving that cafe vibe, grab a cup of coffee (black or with heavy cream) and one of these bites:
- Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich (no bread): 2g net carbs, 28g of fat, and 21 grams of protein
- Steak and Egg Sandwich (no bread): 1g net carb, 28g of fat, and 35g of protein
- Greek Salad (whole salad, no modifications needed): 11g net carbs, 36g of fat, and 6g of protein
Jimmy John’s is a popular fast food sandwich restaurant like Jersey Mike. Just about any of Jimmy John’s sandwiches can be made keto, all you have to do is ask for a Jimmy John “unwich” instead. An unwich is a sandwich artfully wrapped in lettuce instead of using bread.
- Beach Club Unwich: 5g net carbs, 38g fat, 32g of protein.
- Big John Unwich: 3g net carbs, 20g fat, 17g of protein.
- Totally Tuna Unwich: 5g net carbs, 21g fat, 12g of protein.
Add avocado, cheese, and bacon to any unwich to up the fat content. A Jimmy John unwich lettuce wrap is certainly the way to go when trying to find keto fast food options. If you just wanted a low carb fast food option, they do also offer bread hollowing. That’s where they take your favorite sub and scoop out all the dough so you have a bread shell. Not ideal for a keto diet, but for low carb fast food options it’s there.
This Mediterranean-style favorite has several keto-friendly entrées, many of which are packed with veggies and healthy fat goodness. It’s not your typical fast food restaurant, but it may just become your new favorite fast food choice!:
- Herb-grilled Salmon (as-is, including Parmesan garlic broccoli, dinner portion): 4g net carbs, 29g of fat, and 45g of protein
- Chicken Piccata (as is, dinner portion): 9g net carbs, 27g of fat, and 60g of protein
- Famous House Salad (no croutons, Italian dressing): 5g net carbs, 8g of fat, and 2g of protein
Don’t fear the Italian foods! There are keto fast food options anywhere you just have to know what to look for when you order. The simpler you make the menu items you order the better.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Wanna catch a game and a snack, but not sure if you can stick to your diet? Stick with Buffalo Wild Wings’ small size of traditional wings and the following sauces:
- Small Traditional Wings with Parmesan Garlic Sauce: 4g net carbs, 22g of fat, and 6g of protein
- Small Traditional Wings with Hot Sauce: 3.5g net carbs, 12g of fat, and 5g of protein
- Small Traditional Wings with Thai Curry Sauce: 5.5 net carbs, 28g of fat, and 6g of protein.
- Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad (Cobb Salad) with Ranch Dressing- 9g net carbs, 69g of fa, 48g of protein
Buffalo sauce on your wings is another low carb option, if you’re feeling zesty! Buffalo Wild Wings also has multiple burger/ sandwich, and keto chicken salad options. Fast food possibilities are endless at BDubs!
If you’re in need of some Asian takeout food, Panda Express makes it pretty easy to cut down on the carbs without cutting the flavor. While it may be a little higher carb than most keto fast food, they still have tons of low carb fast food options.
- String Bean Chicken (grilled chicken, green beans, onion, mild ginger soy sauce): 9g carbs
- Kung Pao Chicken (grilled chicken, peanuts, red bell peppers, chili peppers, zucchini, spicy Szechwan sauce): 12g carbs
- Broccoli Beef Bowl (Beef, broccoli, ginger soy sauce): 11g carbs
Chinese takeout can still be consumed on your low carb diet. Find more Keto Panda Express items in our guide that fully reviews ingredients and price.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC is known for that crispy breading, but keep your KFC order keto with grilled chicken options. Their grilled chicken is actually delicious and we say there’s no shame if you order a whole bucket.
- 2-piece white chicken combo (grilled, green beans as a side): 2g net carbs, 10 fat, 47g of protein.
- Kentucky Grilled Bucket (green beans as a side, no biscuits): Feed the family on 4g net carbs!
- Creamy Buffalo and Buttermilk Ranch are the best low-carb options for dipping!
There aren’t as many keto fast food options here, but the few they have are delicious. It’s also always a good idea to order simple because it means less variables to change your personal meals macros.
You can keto-fy almost any sandwich at Subway by making it a chopped salad. Remember to avoid toppings covered in sweet sauces like teriyaki or meatball marinara. Up the fat on any of these keto options with a low carb dressing, more cheese, or guacamole.
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Chopped Salad: 9g net carbs, 17g fat, 22g of protein.
- Steak and Cheese Chopped Salad: 11g net carbs, 9g fat, 19g of protein.
- Oven Roasted Chicken Chopped Salad: 7g net carbs, 2.5 fat, 16g protein.
Low carb/ keto meals are super simple at sandwich shops as long as you sub bread for lettuce. Stick to this simple keto tip to customize the best low carb meal.
Note: Be careful with Subway’s creamy soups and chili, they each pack about 15g carbs per bowl.
Rounding out these keto friendly restaurants for your consideration is Chili’s. They’ve got more than just baby back ribs!
- Sunrise Burger (no bun, broccoli as a side): 3g net carbs, 70g of fat, and 62g of protein
- Fresco Salad (as is): 6g net carbs, 10g of fat, and 3g of protein
- Grilled Steak Fajitas (with toppings, no tortillas): 6 net carbs, 46g of fat, and 42g of protein
Once you’ve ordered your delicious meals and side salads, be sure to skip the cheesecake and other desserts!
Our Fast Food Favorites
- Wendy’s – We order the Double Bacon Cheeseburger without the bun. Wendy’s uses 100% quality beef that doesn’t contain any fillers, and the burgers are a lot bigger than other fast food burger patties. The ingredients are not far off from a healthy low carb burger we would make for ourselves at home.
- Chipotle – We order Salad Bowls with Pork Carnitas, Tomato Salsa, Cheese, and Guacamole. Make sure to avoid the vinaigrette because it’s loaded with sugar. For a creamy kick, add some Queso or sour cream.
- Jimmy Johns – We order the Beach Club with Bacon Unwich that has turkey breast, provolone cheese, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, but we omit the mayo to avoid vegetable oils. Almost anything on the menu can be turned into a keto friendly sandwich by omitting the bread.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken – We order 2-piece white grilled chicken with a side of green beans. The white chicken is pretty low in fat, so we recommend adding in some fat like avocado, butter, or olive oil to make it more filling.
- Chic-fil-A – We order 8-count grilled chicken nuggets with side salad. The Grilled Chicken Nuggets have really good flavor, but they do contain some fillers. They also have two net carbs per eight nuggets.
Other Keto Takeout Options
- Keto Wawa – Find keto convenience at Wawa with the Tuna Salad and a bag of pork rinds. Don’t like tuna salad? Try something else off their menu.
- Keto Boston Market – The half chicken with crispy green beans and Caesar salad is our go-to, but they have plenty of quick keto options.
- Keto In N Out – Find out how to order “protein style” or order a few Flying Dutchmans, which are just beef patties with cheese.
- Popeyes – Opt for Blackened Chicken tenders instead of the crispy tender and pair them with a side of green beans.
- Jack in the Box – Order the Meat Lover’s Breakfast without the tortilla and start your day with bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, and TWO kinds of cheese.
- Keto Blaze Pizza – The keto crust at Blaze is made with Cauliflower Rice, Low-Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, Casein Protein Flaxseed, Eggs, Whey Protein, Yeast, Spices, and Cultured Brown Rice. It is perfectly low carb friendly and can be topped with all your favorite low carb toppings.
- Keto Smoothie King – We were impressed by the simplicity of the new Keto Champ Smoothies at Smoothie King. They offer two flavors, Coffee and Berry.
- Eating out while keto doesn’t have to be a pain or keep you from your social life!
- Just choose the restaurant wisely, research your meal, and follow our 9 basic tips.
- If you can, add healthy fats like avocado, keep the protein fattier, and give carbs like bread or tortillas a pass.
- Whether eating fast food or dining in, there are plenty of keto friendly restaurants you’re probably driving by every day.
- Though it’s possible to eat keto out and about, nothing will beat planned, prepped meals for homemade deliciousness. Check out our guide to keto, complete with meal plans, for your next night in.
- Bueno, N. B., de Melo, I. S. V., de Oliveira, S. L., & da Rocha Ataide, T. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(7), 1178-1187. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK138038/
- Koss-Feder, L. (2019). Hotels enhance F&B offerings as guests’ diets evolve. Abstract: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/88854