Best Keto Friendly Fast Food Options on the Road 

Health and fast food don’t typically belong in the same sentence together. However, there are times when, despite your best efforts, you’re faced with a fast food menu and a grumbling stomach. Maybe it’s an unexpected delay in a smaller airport, or a traffic jam and a car full of hungry kids. Whatever the reason, my advice is the same – use what information you have to make the best choice available to you when ordering keto fast food.

To master keto eating out, there are a few basic guidelines that can save you some time and ketones. 

  • Seek out the keto staple foods: non-starchy vegetables (ex. lettuce, tomatoes, peppers etc.), protein (ex. chicken, beef, eggs etc.) and fats (ex. mayo, vinaigrette dressing, cheese etc.). 
  • Avoid breads, breading (ex. breaded fish, chicken, onion rings etc.), french fries, and sweetened sauces (ex. barbeque, honey mustard etc.). 
  • Choose zero carb beverages like water, unsweetened iced tea or coffee.
  • Pay attention to sauces! Zero or low carb sauces and dressings typically include mayo, classic hot sauce, Italian and vinaigrette-based dressings (with exception to raspberry and other fruit vinaigrette's which have higher sugar content), fresh salsa and ranch dressing. 
  • Consider the label of ‟sandwich” as optional. There is no rule you have to eat the bread.
  • Use your smartphone! Most restaurant menus are online and have interactive calculators.

So what does this mean for your average fast food order? Keto friendly fast food choices will commonly include:

  • Bunless burgers and sandwiches
  • Salads and salad bowls instead of rice or mashed potato bowls
  • Naked chicken (no breading!)
  • Water, unsweetened iced tea, diet soda and coffee
  • Guacamole, salsa, mayo, ranch and mustard for condiments

The keto revolution has left no stone unturned, there are low carb food choices for every meal of the day! 

Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

McDonald's Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

Egg McMuffin with Canadian bacon* (hold the muffin)

*net carbs unchanged with sausage

Cal 140 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 9g Prot 12g

Bacon egg and cheese biscuit (hold the biscuit)

Cal 180 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 3g Fat 12g Prot 14g

Beverages: Coffee, Cream, Unsweetened Tea, Bottled Water

Nutrition facts calculated using: McDonalds Nutrition Calculator

Subway Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

Shut the front door! Yes indeed, Subway has keto breakfast options too. We know, amazing! Right??? So here’s the deal, breakfast at Subway comes in the form of a flatbread or wrap so just like the sandwiches you need to either order it without the bread or get rid of it yourself.

  • Bacon egg and cheese (hold the flatbread): Cal 230 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 4g Fat 16g Prot 17g
  • Black forest ham egg and cheese (hold the flatbread):Cal 190 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 4g Fat 12g Prot 16g
  • Egg and cheese (hold the flatbread): Cal 160 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 11g Prot 11g

Beverages: Coffee, Cream, Unsweetened Tea, Diet Soda, Bottled Water

Nutrition calculated using: Subway nutrition data

Starbucks Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Starbucks Grande Coffee

Grande Coffee 

Cal 5 Total Carbs 0g Net Carbs 0g Fat 0g Prot 1g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Starbucks Tall Americano

Tall Americano with Heavy Cream 

Cal 112 Total Carbs 2g Net Carbs 2g Fat 11g Prot 1.5g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Starbucks Gruyere Egg Bites

Bacon and Gruyere Sous Vide Egg Bites 

Cal 300 Total Carbs 9g Net Carbs 9g Fat 20g Prot 19g

 Best Keto Fast Food Options, Starbucks Italian Salami

Italian Salami and Manchego

Cal 220 Total Carbs 0g Net Carbs 0g Fat 17g Prot 15g

Other beverages (1g of net carb or less): brewed coffee, brewed tea, Pellegrino, bottled water

Nutrition facts calculated using: Starbucks Nutrition data 

Wendy's Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

This one may also be a bit of a surprise. Keto fast food breakfast is not just available at McDonalds! Wendy’s actually has a few good options to fill you up and keep you on track.

  • Sausage, egg and Swiss cheese (hold the croissant or biscuit): Cal 360 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 32g Prot 16g
  • Bacon, egg and Swiss cheese croissant (hold the croissant or biscuit): Cal 180 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 32g Prot 16g

Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda, unsweetened iced tea, light lemonade

Nutrition calculated using: Wendy’s App

Chick Fil A Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

Egg white grill (hold the english muffin): Cal 300 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 7g Prot 25g


Sausage, egg and cheese (hold the biscuit): Cal 360 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 32g Prot 18g


Bacon, egg and cheese (hold the biscuit): Cal 130 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 9g Prot 12g

Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda

Nutrition information from Chick Fil A and Women’s Health Magazine

Burger King Keto Fast Food Breakfast Options

  • Egg and cheese Croissan’wich® (hold the croissant): Cal 90 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 7g Prot 7g
  • Bacon, egg and cheese Croissan’wich® (hold the croissant): Cal 130 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 9g Prot 9g
  • Sausage, egg and cheese Croissan’wich® (hold the croissant): Cal 300 Total Carbs 2g Net Carbs 2g Fat 25g Prot 16g
  • Fully loaded Croissan’wich® (hold the croissant or biscuit): Cal 360 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 28g Prot 23g

Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda

Nutrition facts calculated using: Burger King’s menu and nutritional data

Keto Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

McDonald's Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Bunless Quarter Pounder

Bunless quarter pounder, cheese, pickles, lettuce, onion, mustard

Cal 340 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 3g Fat 25g Prot 25g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Bunless Chicken Sandwhich

Bunless artisan grilled chicken sandwhich, lettuce, tomato, onion

Cal 160 Total Carbs 2g Net Carbs 2g Fat 4g Prot 29g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, McDonalds Side Salad

Side salad

Cal 15 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 2g Fat 0g Prot 1g

Beverages: Coffee, Cream, Unsweetened Tea, Bottled Water

Nutrition facts calculated using: McDonalds Nutrition Calculator

Wendy's Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

A word to the wise for keto eating out at Wendy’s - you can order your burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. While this doesn’t do much for flavor, it might help keep your hands clean while you eat!

  • Dave's single* on lettuce with tomato, onion, mayo, mustard and pickles: Cal 400 Total Carbs 6g Net Carbs 5g Fat 31g Prot 25g, *double and triple cheeseburger does not add more carbs, but does add calories, fat and protein. Bacon adds 1g of carb
  • Jr. bacon cheeseburger with lettuce,mayo, mustard: Cal 260 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 3g Fat 21g Prot 15g
  • Grilled bacon jalapeno chicken: Cal 320 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 18g Prot 36
  • Grilled avocado BLT chicken sandwich: Cal 420 Total Carbs 6g Net Carbs 4g Fat 27g Prot 39

Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda, unsweetened iced tea, light lemonade

Nutrition calculated using: Wendy’s App

Subway Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Subway Oven Roasted Chopped Chicken Salad

Oven Roasted Chicken Chopped Salad

 (lettuce, tomato, grilled chicken, spinach, cucumbers, black olives, mozzarella cheese, oil, vinegar)

Cal 260 Total Carbs 12g Net Carbs 8g Fat 15g Prot 20g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Subway Black Forest Ham Salad

Black Forest Ham Salad

(lettuce, tomato, red onion, spinach, cucumbers, black olives, ham, cheddar cheese, oil, vinegar)

Cal 376 Total Carbs 13g Net Carbs 9g Fat 20g Prot 17g

Best Keto Fast Food Options, Subway Chopped Tuna Salad

Chopped Tuna Salad

(lettuce, tomato, red onion, spinach, cucumbers, black olives, tuna, mayo)

Cal 362 Total Carbs 11g Net Carbs 7g Fat 24g Prot 15g

Beverages (1g of net carb or less): brewed coffee, unsweetened iced tea, bottled water

Nutrition facts calculated using: Subway Nutrition Calculator

Burger King Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

  • Cheeseburger (hold the bun): Cal 160 Total Carbs <1g Net Carbs <1g Fat 11g Prot 11g
  • Bacon Cheeseburger (hold the bun): Cal 190 Total Carbs <1g Net Carbs <1g Fat 14g Prot 13g
  • Whopper® (say it with me now, hold the bun): Cal 410 Total Carbs 3g Net Carbs 3g Fat 36g Prot 20g
  • Whopper Jr® (hold the bun): Cal 180 Total Carbs 2g Net Carbs 2g Fat 16g Prot 9g

Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda

Nutrition facts calculated using: Burger King’s menu and nutritional data

Chick Fil A Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

Grilled chicken sandwich (you know the drill, hold the bun): Cal 130 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 1g Fat 3.5g Prot 23g


Grilled chicken club (no bun): Cal 260 Total Carb 4g Net Carbs 2g Fat 13.5g Prot 32g


Grilled nuggets: Cal 140 Total Carb 2g Net Carbs 2g Fat 3.5g Prot 25g

    Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda

    Nutrition information from: Chick Fil A and Women’s Health Magazine

    Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

    Let’s detour a minute and talk about fried chicken. Is fried chicken keto and how many carbs are in fried chicken? The simple and unpopular answer when it comes to fast food is no. That’s because fast food fried chicken is pretty much always breaded, and traditional fast food breading is a keto no-go. 

    We probably don’t need to deconstruct this too much but let’s stop and think about this for a minute - is eating chicken coated with small pieces of bread keto? Now you may be thinking, could I take off the breading? Sure you can but, there really isn’t a way to calculate the net carbs in that situation. 

    Your best bet, at least at KFC, is to go with the grilled chicken. It is keto friendly at 0 g of carbs.

    • Grilled chicken breast & drumstick with green beans: Cal 320 Total Carb 5g Net Carb 2g Fat 11g Prot 50g
    • Grilled chicken breast with side salad and buttermilk dressing: Cal 380 Total Carb 4g Net Carb 2g Fat 24g Prot 39g

    Beverages: diet soda, Colonel’s unsweet tea, water

    Nutrition information calculated using: KFC’s Nutrition Calculator

    Chipotle Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

    Best Keto Fast Food Options, Chipotle Bowl

    Burrito Bowl with lettuce, chicken*, fajita vegetables, guacamole, cheese, tomatillo red chili salsa

    *net carbs unchanged with beef or pork Cal 575 Total Carbs 19g Net

    Carbs 10g Fat 37g Prot 41g

    Best Keto Fast Food Options, Steak Chipotle Bowl

    Salad with lettuce, steak*, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole, cheese

    *net carbs unchanged with chicken or pork

    Cal 520 Total Carbs 15g Net Carbs 6g Fat 36g Prot 29g

    Beverages: San Pellegrino, Unsweetened Tea, Bottled Water

    Nutrition facts calculated using: Chipotle Nutrition Calculator

    Arby's Lunch/Dinner Fast Food Options

    • Classic Roast Beef (no bun): Cal 150 Total Carbs 1g Net Carbs 1g Fat 10g Prot 16g
    • Fire Roasted Philly Sub (no bun): Cal 430 Total Carb 5g Net Carbs 4g Fat 34g Prot 27g
    • Loaded Turkey Gyro* (no pita): Cal 210 Total Carb 6g Net Carbs 5g Fat 13 g Prot 18g, *All turkey wraps, sandwiches and pitas have the same net carbs

    Beverages: coffee (black or with cream), water, diet soda, unsweetened iced tea, light lemonade

    Nutrition facts calculated using: Arby’s Build a Meal online tool.

    Keto Eating Out By Fast Food Restaurant Type

    Don’t see your favorite grab and go stop on our list? You can get keto friendly fast food at most grab and go spots if you know how to order. So make it work, using the guidelines below:

    Coffee Shop

    Order black coffee or tea with heavy cream. Stick with sugar free syrups. Customize any beverage by asking for no sugar and subbing in heavy cream. Choose egg bites/wraps or sandwiches and ditch the bread. For more, check out “Keto Coffee: What is Keto Coffee and How to Make It” 

    Mexican Style

    Choose salad, not tacos or rice bowls. Start with a bed of lettuce, pick a protein, add non starchy vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes. Top with some fat – preferably guacamole or avocados, garnish with cheese and sour cream if you’d like or skip it if you’re dairy free.

    Sub Shop

    Stick with salads and protein or a bunless sandwich. Some sub shops, like Jimmy Johns, have large lettuce leaves that can be used in place of bread (this is known as an ‟Unwich”). As always, keep the beverages zero carbs. This is most simply accomplished by drinking water but unsweetened tea and diet sodas also work. 

    Burger Joint

    Choose a sandwich with grilled chicken, beef, eggs or breakfast meat.  Add on cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion to taste, skip the bun. Add salad with vinaigrette or ranch dressing. 

    Pizza

    There’s a reason pizza hasn’t been mentioned until now - there aren’t many keto friendly options on most pizza place menus, however, there are some chains like Blaze Pizza, who are now offering keto-friendly crust. But, if you’re in a pinch and find yourself staring at a pepperoni pie, you do have some options:

    • Eat the pizza toppings but skip the crust (messy, but do-able)
    • Naked chicken wings (no breading) with classic hot sauce, not bbq or buffalo.
    • Salad, no croutons, vinaigrette or ranch dressing. If you’re at an old school pizza place and they have oil and vinegar, that will be your best bet.

    Need some inspiration?

    • Papa Johns* 8 wings, no sauce: Cal 810 Total Carbs 4g Net Carbs 4g Fat 57g Prot 67g, *Also <5g net carb for 8 wings Pizza Hut All American, Pizza Hut Garlic Parmesan

    Estimating nutrition facts for pizza toppings is pretty difficult, but let's say you ordered a deluxe pizza (pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions, olives) and ate the toppings on about ½ the pizza. Based on the USDA food data information you’d likely be looking at approximately 650 cal, 10g total carb, 8g net carb, and 35g of protein. It seems like a lot of calories but remember you’d be eating mostly high fat meat and cheese.

    Low Carb Fast Food Salad Options

    Customize a fast food salad while you’re eating keto out to get your greens in. To ketofy any fast food salad, stick with the steps below:

    1. Select a salad that is mostly greens
    2. Opt out of high carb toppings: croutons, tortilla strips, dried cranberries or other fruit
    3. Choose a low carb protein topping like grilled chicken or steak. This means no breading, no bbq, no maple glazed. 
    4. Be smart about dressings, low fat dressings will usually be higher in sugar. Choose full fat ranch or vinaigrette dressing like Italian or balsamic (not raspberry vinaigrette).
    5. This last piece of advice, I hope you already know but just so you’re clear - skip the breadstick!

     

    If the only option is a side salad, double up on the salad and get a bunless sandwich to create your own keto friendly fast food salad meal. 

    The carbs tend to be a little high in salads compared to bunless sandwiches which is because vegetables do have some carbohydrates. Some of the carbs in vegetables are fiber, a nutrient that tends to be a little low on the typical keto diet but very much necessary for good health. So don’t shy away from the salads, just remember to do your homework and choose wisely. Here is a great article on Keto Friendly Veggies!

    Need some fast food salad inspiration?

    • McDonald’s Bacon Grilled Chicken Salad with balsamic vinaigrette: Cal 240 Total Carbs 10g Net Carbs 8g Fat 9g Prot 31g
    • Arby’s Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad with ranch: Cal 400 Total Carbs 10g Net Carbs 7g Fat 32g Prot 20g
    • Chipotle salad with lettuce, steak*, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole, cheese, *net carbs unchanged with chicken or pork: Cal 520 Total Carbs 15g Net Carbs 6g Fat 36g Prot 29g

    High Protein, Low Carb Fast Food Options

    So which options really bring home the bacon when it comes to protein? Actually, fast food places  have really good choices when it comes to protein. 

    Top choices include:

    1. Naked chicken wings from Papa Johns (67g of protein)
    2. McDonald’s grilled chicken, bacon salad (31g of protein)
    3. Chipotle burrito bowl with chicken or steak (no rice, 41g of protein)
    4. KFC breast and drumstick with green beans (50g of protein)
    5. Chick Fil A Egg White Grill (no bun, 25g of protein)

    Final Thoughts

    Eating fast food does not mean you have to throw in the towel on your low carb diet. There are many good options available. With a bit of information and some plastic ware, most menus are painlessly customizable. 

    So, the next time you find yourself in a pinch and the golden arches are calling your name, head on in and get creative. While keto fast food is not synonymous with health food, you can stay in ketosis and return to leafy greens and avocados when you arrive at your destination.

    Want more suggestions for eating keto on the go? Check out our blog post Staying Keto During the Summer While Eating Out.

    Comments


    Leave a comment

    Leave a comment