If you are in the predicament of having nowhere to go for food except a fast food restaurant, don’t panic! There are still ways to stick to your keto diet and stay in ketosis while grubbing on food from fast food restaurants like Chipotle and McDonald’s.
Naturally, your access to fast food might be limited to a select few restaurants, so we went ahead and made a list of the best keto fast food restaurants and which menu items are lowest in carbs (while being high in protein and/or fat).
Forgot your keto-friendly lunch at home? Don’t sweat it, this guide will help you navigate the world of keto fast food in all its bun-less glory! We will show you exactly what to order at some of the most popular keto fast food restaurants.
The Top 10 Keto Fast Food Restaurants
Here are the top 10 keto fast food restaurants we will cover:
- Burger King
- Five Guys
- Jimmy John’s
- Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s
We also have a separate article that helps you find keto-friendly foods at places like gas stations and supermarkets – Keto Fast Food: How to Keep Low Carb on the Go
Before moving on, keep in mind that your keto diet should consist mainly of wholesome foods (ideally that you buy fresh from a grocery store).
Just because you’re on the keto diet doesn’t mean your entire diet should be nothing more than fast food. Nevertheless, when you’re low on options for food then these keto fast food restaurants can certainly save the day while allowing you to stay in ketosis!
When most people think of Subway, they assume it’s not a suitable keto fast food restaurant because the entire menu revolves around carb-laden sub sandwiches. In reality, though, there are many keto-friendly options at Subway as long as you stick to the salads.
Best Subway Keto Foods
The great thing about Subway is that you can order any of their subs as a salad. Here are our recommendations for which of their subs make the best low-carb salads:
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
KFC surprisingly has a somewhat tricky menu to navigate for keto fast food options, mainly because many of their foods are deep fried. Intuitively, breaded chicken is a no-go for keeping carbs low and staying in ketosis. However, there are certainly a select few keto-friendly menu options at KFC.
Best KFC Keto Foods
Opt for the grilled chicken selections over their traditional fried chicken offerings. If you’re looking for a side to accompany the chicken, go for the green beans. (Avoid the coleslaw, the dressing packs a decent amount of carbs.)
These are our top keto fast food picks for KFC:
Chipotle is arguably the most popular fast food chain of the millennial age, with new locations popping up daily. Unfortunately for keto advocates, the burritos and tacos that make up the majority of Chipotle’s menu aren’t remotely low-carb. The good news: You can make any of their burritos into a salad (bowl) and drastically cut the carb tally.
Best Chipotle Keto Foods
Go for the burrito bowls with one of their meats and suitable add-ins. Here are the best low-carb foods to eat at Chipotle:
Arby’s surprisingly has one of the vastest keto-friendly menus of all the fast food chains we analyzed. In fact, pretty much all of their sandwiches can be made low-carb by nixing the bread/bun. This makes Arby’s a solid option for high-protein, on-the-go keto food.
Best Arby’s Keto Foods
The good thing about the majority of Arby’s sandwiches is that they don’t come with condiments on them (we recommend avoiding their optional Arby’s sauce, which has sugar in it).
Here are the best Arby’s sandwiches to order (without the bun/bread) along with one of their signature salads:
McDonald’s is indubitably the most popular fast food chain around the globe. Obviously, their menu revolves around burgers, but much of their offerings can quickly be made keto-friendly by nixing the bun.
They also have a solid low-carb breakfast menu if you go with one of the McMuffin sandwiches and ditch the muffin.
Best McDonald’s Keto Foods
If you’re ordering breakfast foods, stick to the sausage patties or one of the egg McMuffin sandwiches without the bread. If you’re in need of a little pep, order their plain black coffee (which is actually quite tasty). Naturally, you’ll want to avoid the hash browns, pancakes, and oatmeal.
For other meals of the day, go for one of their burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches without the bun or ketchup. In fact, if you order a burger/sandwich and ask for no bread, they will often serve it in a bowl with lettuce. If they don’t, just toss the bun/bread.
Here are our top picks for keto fast food at McDonald’s:
Burger King is quite similar in menu offerings to McDonald’s (albeit a less keto-friendly breakfast menu). Depending on what you’re in the mood for, Burger King offers quite a few burgers/sandwiches that can be made keto-friendly by forgoing the bread. Their keto-friendly side selections are pretty limited, though.
Best Burger King Keto Foods
Here are the best low-carb foods to order at Burger King and the modifications we recommend you make:
Five Guys has grown significantly over the past decade, with some of the tastiest fast food burgers you can find. All of their toppings/add-ons are practically carb-free as well, minus the ketchup, BBQ sauce, and relish.
Best Five Guys Keto Foods
Go for any of their burgers in a lettuce wrap, or order them as a salad. They also have a hot dog which can easily be made keto-friendly by ditching the bun.
Here are the nutritional values for the most popular keto foods at Five Guys:
Wendy’s is yet another burger-centric fast food chain, but they do offer other low-carb items like salad and chicken. In general, you’re going to need to focus on sandwiches/burgers and forgo the bun/bread.
Best Wendy’s Keto Foods
More burgers, more chicken, and more salads. You can probably see the trend in many of these keto fast food restaurants. Wendy’s does have the added perk of offering one of the most massive bacon and beef sandwiches – the Baconator – you can find at a fast food restaurant. They also have several solid grilled chicken sandwiches, which are keto-friendly without the bread and condiments.
Jimmy John’s, similar to Subway, is surprisingly a suitable keto fast food restaurant if you just order their sandwiches as an “Unwich”. (This means they serve you the sandwich ingredients without the bread.)
Perhaps the biggest downside to ordering an Unwich is the cost (which seems a little pricey for what is essentially meat, veggies, and cheese.)
Best Jimmy John’s Keto Foods
Any of the sandwiches as Unwiches are good-to-go for the keto diet, but here are our top Jimmy John’s selections:
Both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are owned by the same company, so their menu offerings are essentially the same (just different names). The low-carb options at both of these fast food joints are rather plentiful, too.
Best Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Keto Foods
Carl’s Jr. has the benefit of the Lettuce-Wrapped Thickburger in several sizes. At Hardee’s, the Thickburgers normally come with a bun so just nix that. You can order any of the following burgers in a lettuce wrap, just forgo the bun and ketchup:
Hardee’s keto breakfast options:
- Low-Carb Breakfast Bowl: 660 calories, 53g fat, 39g protein, 10g carbs, 2g fiber
For added fat, order additional guacamole and/or bacon. For some extra greens, order the side salad but don’t top it with dressing.
“Are there other keto fast food restaurants?”
Absolutely! This guide just compiles what we consider the best keto fast food restaurants, but there are certainly others.
Realistically, you can eat low-carb at just about any restaurant using some simple tactics that we cover here: Keto Fast Food: How to Keep Low Carb on the Go
When in doubt, use your resources to check the nutritional value of foods at a restaurant. Many places have their nutritional values available on the Internet or even in-person. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t find them!