You have to admit, fast food and a keto diet don’t exactly go hand in hand. We all know that a homemade meal is going to be better for you, but I’m a firm believer in doing the best you can in every circumstance. And sometimes, life just happens. Whether you need keto friendly fast food because you’re on the road, you have a crazy schedule, or you need the best keto fast food options for a different circumstance, that’s what this low carb keto fast food guide is for. If eating keto fast food helps you stay on track, go for it.
Before we jump in head first into eating fast food on keto, be aware that most likely you won’t find clean keto fast food options. Even if you avoid the obvious carb culprits such as buns or breaded items, many fast food places add not-so-nice ingredients like wheat, sugar, starch, corn syrup and artificial preservatives even to seemingly safe items, like chicken or beef. If you are trying to follow a strict, clean keto diet, then keto fast food will be tough to come by.
But sometimes that’s okay – you do what you have to do! The key is to be informed when choosing to eat fast food on keto.
WHAT FAST FOOD CAN I EAT ON A KETO DIET?
With reasonable expectations and this low carb fast food guide, you can find suitable fast food for keto.
This is exactly why I’ve compiled this keto fast food list. I want to make it easy for you to make informed choices. I’ll cover the most popular low carb fast food options, as well as some general tips.
So, what fast food is keto friendly?
In general, the best keto fast food choices fall into these main categories:
- Lettuce wrapped sandwich or bowl – Either way, the key is skipping the bun on a sandwich.
- Salads – An obvious choice, but watch out for sugar-y dressings or breaded toppings.
- Naked chicken – Usually this means wings or grilled chicken.
For a general list of what to eat in a keto diet, check out the low carb & keto food list – there’s a printable version you can get there, too.
TIPS FOR HOW TO EAT KETO FAST FOOD
I have the best keto friendly fast food suggestions for 30 different fast food restaurants below, but first want to share some general tips that often apply no matter where you go. The good news is, you can find cheap keto fast food at almost any place by using these guidelines.
- Order meat (without breading), cheese and vegetables. These are the main staples of keto and you can find them even at fast food joints… even if it means some modifications. Plus, meat, cheese and veggies are almost always safe because you can see what you are getting, unlike sauces that almost always have carbs lurking.
- Check ingredients and nutrition info online. This is the first thing I do when I know I’ll be eating out! Even though I have a pretty good idea of what keto approved fast food will be like (main categories above!), sometimes you’d be surprised where they add unnecessary carbs. Most restaurant websites have nutrition info posted these days, so you can look it up to know for sure.
- Skip the bun, even if that option is not on the menu. Some fast food places seem to have no keto meals available, but you can always ask for no bun on any sandwich. They’ll usually put it into a little box or bowl that you can eat with a fork, though you can try asking for a lettuce wrap as well.
- Avoid fried foods. Fried means breaded, and breaded means carbs. If an item includes a fried item, such as breaded chicken, ask to replace it with grilled instead.
- Ask for “carb free” extras. The best fast food for keto is often a bit heavy on the meat, or might not quite be enough food if you get a bunless sandwich. So, ask for some of these extras to go along with your meal – they won’t add many carbs and often won’t cost you anything!
- Banana peppers or jalapeños
- Sour cream
- Oil & vinegar
- Consider bringing your own condiments. Although a few condiments, such as mayo, are fine to have, many fast food dressings and sauces are filled with sugar. If you have the opportunity to make your own, it will give you more options, such as keto ketchup, barbecue sauce, and more. (More on this below!)
- Always check your order before leaving. Even though low carb eating is becoming more popular, it’s fairly common that they can forget to leave off the bun or give you fried chicken instead of grilled. Better to double check!