Introduction: The Keto Fast Food Option
On the ketogenic diet, it’s best to purchase grass-fed organic ingredients and meal-prep, but sometimes that’s simply not an option. However, with either a quick adjustment or altered side, it’s possible to stick with keto just about anywhere. Keto fast food, here we come.
Here are ten keto-friendly, inexpensive options at various American fast food chains:
Chipotle Restaurant ($6-8 bucks)
At the upper end of “fast food,” Chipotle serves fresh ingredients and those in ketosis can eat low-carb meals loaded with meats, cheese, and guacamole. Since the chain is more of a create-your-own mixture, feel free to mix and match.
However, to give you an idea of how to order at Chipotle, consider a bowl that includes chicken, lettuce, tomatillo red salsa, cheese, and guacamole, which will be around 41g protein, 37g fat, and 13g carbohydrates (limit the guac for low-carb).
Five Guys Burgers ($5-8 bucks)
Since Five Guys doesn’t include fries, it’s easier to order a burger without a full potato on the side. While you wait, the burger joint also gives away complimentary peanuts, which are around 6g protein, 14g fat, and 5g carbs per ounce.
As for the burger, ask for a bacon cheeseburger with no bun. We recommend mayo, lettuce, mustard, grilled onions and hot sauce to avoid excess carbs. The menu also includes pickles, grilled mushrooms, green peppers, and A1 Sauce to choose from.
Wingstop ($6-8 bucks)
It would seem like a wing joint would be an obvious choice for the ketogenic lifestyle, but you still need to watch out for hidden carbs that come from sauces and breaded wings, which are more common than they should be at wing spots.
At Wingstop, they actually have a “Carb Watcher” option, which includes six flavors with no carbs and another dozen or so with only around 10 carbs or less. We recommend Original Hot Classic Wings, but there are several choices for keto fast food.
Jimmy Johns ($6 bucks)
Known for their “freaky fast” service, it’s strange that a sandwich shop can include a keto option, but anything works when you order it naked… The low-carb option for Jimmy Johns is called “unwich style” when you place your order.
Essentially, you can take any sandwich on the menu and ask for it unwich style, but it’s certainly going to be more of a mess than your regular sandwich. We highly recommend the #5 Vito, which includes genoa salami, provolone cheese, capicola, onion, lettuce, and tomato. Drop the Italian vinaigrette and get hot peppers instead.
Wendy’s ($6-7 bucks)
Another surprise keto fast food option can be found at the Wendy’s chain. In the very beginning of the keto rage, Wendy’s decided to toss some amazing salad options on their menu with quality ingredients. Otherwise, order a burger and toss the bun.
We’re fans of the Wendy’s BLT Cobb Salad, which includes applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and avocado ranch dressing. Other great choices include Fresh Mozz Chicken or Power Mediterranean.
McDonald’s ($5-8 bucks)
No one associates the word “healthy” with McDonald’s, especially after that Super Size Me documentary, but nearly any restaurant can also be keto-sized. The obvious options here would be salads or bun-less burgers.
If you get stuck with the golden arches, try a burger or chicken sandwich, such as the new Pico Guacamole or Maple Bacon Dijon from the new menu. Toss the bun and take a look at their new signature menu. Ditch the sides. Ditch the cola.
Subway ($5-7 bucks)
Another unlikely candidate for the keto fast food menu would be Subway, despite their whole “Eat Fresh” slogan. Like Chipotle, the key here is to order a salad or bun-less option and then add on some items to make it worth your while.
We love the Double Chicken Chopped Salad, which has an impressive 36g of protein and only around 10g of carbohydrates. Other options include Black Forest Ham Salad, Chicken & Bacon Ranch Salad, or the Roast Beef Salad for keto goodness.
Carl’s Jr. / Hardees ($6-7 bucks)
There are around twenty options of burgers at Carl’s Jr., which is called Hardees on the east coast. Each option, obviously, can be eaten sans bun, so that means lots of options for chicken, burgers, fats, and protein.
We love the ½ lb. Original Six Dollar Thickburger, but drop the bun and order some extra pickles for a ketogenic option. This meal, without the fries, comes with a whopping 33g protein, 63g fat, and 8g carbohydrates.
Taco Bell ($7 bucks)
If you’re tired of bun-less burgers, there’s always Taco Bell when you’re on the road. The taco joint offers sides of beef, chicken, lettuce, guacamole and more. They’ve also updated their menu to include protein, carb-less items.
The Power Menu Bowl can be ordered with chicken or steak and that comes with guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and more. Make sure to order Latin Rice (no rice) and drop the black beans unless you’ve got the room for bonus carbs.
In-N-Out Burger ($5-6 bucks)
While most of the choices above are nationwide, anybody who has ever visited California or anywhere in the Midwest, In-N-Out is basically a must-stop. Besides being extremely tasty, they have many “Protein Style” options available.
We highly recommend the 2×4 ordered Protein style with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The burger comes with two all-beef paddies, four tasty slices of cheese, and various crispy veggie toppings for your pleasure. You’re welcome.
Staying In Ketosis, On A Budget
Whether you’re enjoying a protein-packed meal at In-N-Out, munching on naked tacos “South of the Border” or making a mess with an unwich, there is no reason to restock that wheat belly with carbs, traveling or not.
Likewise, there’s absolutely no reason to spend a ton on ketogenic meals while traveling. In fact, if you order a burger without the bun, drop the fries, and grab a water, you’ll likely save even more than the prices listed above.