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 snack with friends. Despite what you may have heard, ketosis is sustainable when eating out!
WHERE TO EAT AND WHAT TO ORDER IN EVERY MAJOR US CITY
We’ve made it easy for you with our list of the best keto friendly restaurants and fast food joints.
9 Tips for Eating Out On Keto
Here’s how to make your favorite spots into keto friendly restaurants:
- Skip on the full-sugar soft drinks (we’re partial to Diet Coke, personally).
- Watch out for “butter” that’s really margarine.
- With salads, when in doubt, use olive oil as dressing and add avocado for healthy fat.
- 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.
- 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 bunless or be wrapped in lettuce.
- Be sure to clearly say “no sauce or ketchup!” Even keto friendly 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 (though our budget meal plan proves that wrong). 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 your efficient weight loss and optimized health, even in a drive-through. Here’s what to order at these quick keto friendly restaurants.
We know what you’re thinking: a low-carb option at McDonalds? Yes, it is possible! Here’s what to order at Mickey D’s.
- Sausage, Egg and Cheese McMuffin (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 (no bun): 6g net carbs, 19g of fat, and 29g of protein
- Big Mac (no bun, no ketchup or sauce): 5g net carbs, 25g of fat, and 18g 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”!
- 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, rice, 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 you’re still craving Mexican, check out one of our favorite keto recipes.
Chick-fil-A has quite a few low carb options if you go bunless, get grilled chicken, and skip the sauces. 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
Wendy’s affinity for bacon makes it an excellent choice for your keto meal. Here’s the rundown on how to get a keto 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.
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 keto friendly restaurants, from Italian to Tex-Mex.
Chipotle 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. Here are our favorite Keto Chipotle meals:
- Salad Bowl (with lettuce, barbacoa, tomato salsa, green chili salsa, sour cream, guac, and cheese): 23g carbs, 45.5g of fat, and 35g of protein
- 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, sauteed veggies, and lettuce.
Side note: carnitas is the most keto-friendly meat, with 12g of fat and 0 net carbs.
Yes, it’s called Panera Bread, but no, you don’t have to carb-load. 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 21g 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
Just about any of Jimmy John’s sandwiches can be made keto, all you have to do is ask for an “unwich” instead. They will wrap your sandwich with 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 bacon or avocado to any unwich to up the fat content.
This Mediterranean-style favorite has several keto-friendly entrées, many of which are packed with veggie and healthy fat goodness:
- 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
If charbroiled burgers are your favorite, then it’s time to make them keto-friendly. Here are a few options you can pair with a side garden salad.
- Bacon King (no bun, no ketchup)
- Sausage Egg and Cheese (No croissant)
- Whopper (no bun, no ketchup)
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.
Buffalo sauce on your wings is another keto-friendly option, if you’re feeling zesty!
If you’re in need of some Asian takeout food, Panda Express makes it pretty easy to cut the carbs without cutting the flavor.
- 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
Find more Keto Panda Express items in our guide where we fully review 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 in ordering a 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!
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 option 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.
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
Just skip the cheesecake and other desserts!
Matt and Megha’s 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 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 and for a creamy kick, add some Queso or sour cream.
- Jimmy Johns – We order the Beach Club with Bacon Unwich which 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 we tried have really good flavor, but they do contain fillers and 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.
- 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 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