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Keto Fast Food: Your Restaurant & Ordering Guide

You’ve decided to invest in your health by participating in the ketogenic way of eating, or maybe you’re thinking about giving keto a try. Great!

But sometimes your schedule gets crazy and sometimes slipping through the drive-thru after work is a necessary evil. 

Good news: there is such a thing as keto fast food.

Believe it or not, keto can be easy to stick to when you’re eating out if you're prepared to request modifications. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself eating hidden carbs that'll throw your body out of ketosis.

We've mapped out the best fast food restaurants for keto-friendly options, what to order, and what to watch out for.

A Quick Look at the Basics: How Keto Works

The keto diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet that focuses on your macronutrients -- proteins, carbohydrates, and fats -- and how much of each you consume. When eating keto, the goal is to consume about 75 percent of your daily calories from healthy fats, 20 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbohydrates. While exact numbers will differ based on your gender, weight, activity level and nutritional needs, a sample average 2,000-calorie day would be:
  • 167g of fat
  • 100g of protein
  • 25g net carbohydrates (net carbs = total carbs - fiber - sugar alcohols).
Ketosis is the goal of the ketogenic diet. This is where the magic happens. “When your body enters ketosis, it becomes a fat-burning machine that uses up your fat stores to supply your body with its energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver which can supply your brain with energy, helping you become more focused, alert and energized.” Molly Devine, RD, LD/N. 

The key to success is keeping your carb intake low, which can be especially difficult if you’re eating fast food. With a range of 25g to 50g of daily carbs, you can easily overdo it with just one entree.

Leave out the carb-heavy foods such as rice, beans, sweets, grains, milk, cereals, fruits, and even certain vegetables.

Instead, you’re going to focus on the staples. Refer to this keto essentials list when you’re trying to think creatively about how to remain keto while eating out: fish, meat, eggs, cheese, butter, heavy cream, oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables.

Check out our Keto Food Pyramid for a helpful representation of what eating keto looks like.

General Guidelines for Ordering Keto-Friendly Fast Food

While following all the rules isn't fail-proof, thinking through some of these principles will definitely put you on the right track when it comes to keto fast food.
  • Focus on meats, cheeses, and low-carb vegetables.
  • Add fats to your meal when you can, e.g. bacon, sour cream, avocados, high-fat salad dressing, etc.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. Many popular fast food chains provide nutrition calculators so you can see how removing or adding elements of your meal will affect the nutritional value. We’ll provide some of those below.
  • Water is always a great drink of choice. However, if you’re craving something sweet, go with a diet soda or use sugar-free natural sweeteners, like erythritol in your coffee or tea.
  • Avoid breaded or fried menu options. They’re usually high in carbs and unhealthy oils.
  • Nix the bread on your sandwich or burger and exchange it for lettuce -- either in the form of a salad or a wrap.
  • Speaking of lettuce, not all greens are created equal. Reach for the leafy green vegetables. They’re nutrient-dense and low in carbs. Check out this guide for more info on keto-friendly veggies.
  • Salad dressings can pack a lot of hidden carbs in a tiny space. Read the ingredients on the salad dressing packet carefully. If they’re okay on carbs, drizzle away. Dressings can be a good source of fat. Try full-fat ranch, blue cheese, and caesar.
  • Watch out for onions and tomatoes. While not terrible, they can increase your carb count quickly so enjoy in moderation.
  • Don’t forget to leave off the ketchup. A single packet of Heinz ketchup has 4g of carbohydrates. Mustard is okay.

10 Best Keto Fast Food Restaurants (& What to Order) 

So now that we’ve got a good baseline, let’s talk about how to eat out but still watch that waistline. Cheesy? Okay maybe a little, but cheese is good for you, especially on keto. For your benefit, we’re going to look at 12 of the most frequented fast food restaurants in America.

These locations can be found just about anywhere in the U.S. So if you’re ever in a jam, you can stay on track with keto.

#1: Subway

Here’s a fun fact to impress your friends: There are about 10,000 more Subways than there are McDonald’s. Believe it or not, Subway is the most common fast food chain in America. But if you decide to eat here, don’t plan on grabbing the 5-dollar footlong. Fortunately, many of their sandwiches can be turned into salads. Cutting tomatoes and onions is an easy way to reduce the carb count in these salads, so all of the values below represent these salads without tomatoes and onions. Play around with their nutrition calculator to find other keto-friendly options.

Chicken Bacon Ranch

  • Modifications: Replace the buffalo dressing with full-fat ranch dressing
  • Stats: 17g fat, 10g carbs, 26g protein, 310 calories
Black Forest Ham
  • Modifications: Add red wine vinegar, plus cheddar and avocado to raise the fat count  
  • Stats: 13g fat, 12g carbs, 17g protein, 220 calories
Cold Cut Combo
  • Modifications: Add red wine vinegar and shredded mozzarella
  • Stats: 13g fat, 9g carbs, 14g protein, 200 calories
Italian BMT
  • Modifications: Add provolone, pepperoni, and red wine vinegar
  • 26g fat, 10g carbs, 20g protein, 350 calories
Tuna Sandwich
  • 24g fat, 7g carbs, 14g protein, 290 calories

#2: McDonald’s

Your friends may not be there for you when you need them, but you can bet a McDonald’s probably will be (although not as often as Subway). If you get rid of the bread, it’s pretty easy to get enough protein and fat from McDonald’s menu items. You’ll have to say no to french fries, hash browns, oatmeal, and breaded items like chicken nuggets, but there are still a host of good breakfast, lunch, and dinner options to keep your body in ketosis. Check out their nutrition calculator for yourself.

Lunch/Dinner Options

Quarter Pounder with Cheese -- No Bun

  • Modifications: Remove the ketchup and onions
  • 25g fat, 4g carbs, 25g protein, 340 calories
Bacon Smokehouse Burger -- No Bun
  • Modifications: Remove the bacon-onion sauce and fried onions
  • 33g fat, 4g carbs, 32g protein, 440 calories
Big Mac -- No Bun
  • Modifications: The Big Mac sauce counts for 2g of carbohydrates. The numbers here reflect the burger with the sauce, but take it off if you want to trim a few more carbs.
  • 25g fat, 7g carbs, 18g protein, 300 calories
Bacon Smokehouse Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich -- No Bun
  • Modifications: Remove the bacon-onion sauce and fried onions
  • 19g fat, 5g carbs, 41g protein, 350 calories
Breakfast Options

Most McDonald’s breakfast items are now served all day, so you can choose these items anytime.

Egg McMuffin -- No English Muffin

  • 11g fat, 3g carbs, 12g protein, 160 calories
Sausage McMuffin -- No English Muffin
  • 24g fat, 2g carbs, 9g protein, 260 calories
Sausage Egg McMuffin -- No English Muffin
  • 29g fat, 3g carbs, 16g protein, 240 calories

#3: Starbucks

Good news, coffee lovers: It’s pretty easy to stay keto while getting your morning pick-me-up.

Black espresso and black coffee are carb-free, of course, but if you need a keto latte substitute, Starbucks has a solid selection of sugar-free syrups. Each pump of syrup contains about 1g of carbohydrates.

Stevia is another option if you want to sweeten your drink, but steer clear of the iced teas. Each 12-ounce shaken black or green iced tea features 8g of carbohydrates and that’s the lowest amount you’ll find in the iced teas. View their nutrition calculator to create a keto-friendly concoction.

#4: Burger King

As with McDonald’s, Burger King’s staple burgers are good choices for keeping with the keto way of eating if you toss the bread and remove the ketchup. Their bacon is pretty delicious, so adding that to your bun-less sandwich can boost your fat macros and add some flavor. If you make Burger King your stop, give some heavy consideration to the Whopper. At 36g of fat and 20g of protein, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Don’t see an item below that interests you? Visit their nutritional calculator to see if your favorite sandwich can be keto-fied.

Cheeseburger -- No Bun

  • Modification: Remove the ketchup
  • 11g fat, <1g carbs, 11g protein, 150 calories
Double Cheeseburger -- No Bun
  • Modification: Remove the ketchup
  • 19g fat, <1g carbs, 20g protein, 250 calories
Whopper -- No Bun
  • Modifications: Remove the ketchup and onions
  • 36g fat, 2g carbs, 20g protein, 410 calories
Double Whopper -- No Bun
  • Modifications: Remove the ketchup and onions
  • 71g fat, 2g carbs, 60g protein, 890 calories
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • 16g fat, 1g carbs, 30g protein, 270 calories

#5: Taco Bell

Considering the majority of the menu is made up of tacos, burritos, and nachos, it will take some ingenuity to eat keto at Taco Bell. The nice thing here is that the ability to add guacamole, sour cream, and cheese to any dish will help you boost your fat macros. Check out their calculator to play with the options for yourself.

Beef Taco

  • Modification: Remove the taco shell
  • 7g fat, 4g carbs, 7g protein, 100 calories
Power Bowl
  • Modifications: Remove the black beans, rice, and pico de gallo
  • 15g fat, 8g carbs, 21g protein, 250 calories
Power Menu Burrito
  • Modifications: Remove the tortilla and pico de gallo
  • 15g fat, 6g carbs, 21g protein, 240 calories
Grilled Breakfast Burrito
  • Modification: Remove the tortilla
  • 12g fat, 3g carbs, 8g protein, 150 calories
Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller
  • Modification: Remove the tortilla
  • 11g fat, 2g carbs, 9g protein, 140 calories
Side of Guacamole
  • 6g fat, 3g carbs, <1g protein, 70 calories

#6: Wendy’s

Wendy’s doesn’t provide an online nutrition calculator, but don’t fret. If you take the principles from Burger King and McDonald’s, you should be in the clear. Individual Wendy’s restaurants may also provide sheets with nutrition facts that can help you make your decision. Without having specific details, here are a few high fat, high protein options you can modify to reduce the carbohydrate count.
  • Dave’s Single Cheeseburger
  • Dave’s Double Cheeseburger
  • Dave’s Triple Cheeseburger
  • Baconator
  • Grilled Asiago Club Ranch
  • Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad

#7: KFC

We know we said that fried foods shouldn’t make your list. We’re sticking with that, but there are plenty of grilled options at KFC to satiate your palate during your next lunch date with the Colonel. KFC is known for their sides, but you won’t be able to touch any of them except for the green beans which have 4g of carbs per serving. You can figure out your own meal by checking out their nutrition calculator.

Grilled Breast

  • 7g fat, 0g carbs, 38g protein, 210 calories
Grilled Drumstick
  • 4g fat, 0g carbs, 11g protein, 80 calories
Grilled Thigh
  • 9g fat, 0g carbs, 17g protein, 150 calories
Grilled Wing (1 Wing)
  • 3g fat, 0g carbs, 9g protein, 70 calories
Hot Wing (1 Wing)
  • 4g fat, 0g carbs, 4g protein, 70 calories
House Side Salad
  • Modifications: Remove the tomatoes and add chicken. You’re safe with any of the dressings except for the Hidden Valley Fat Free Ranch which has 10g of carbohydrates.
  • 0g fat, 3g carbs, 1g protein, 15 calories

#8: Chipotle

From pasture-raised animals to preservative-free food, Chipotle gives you a wholesome food option that can be keto-friendly. You’ll want to stay away from the carb-heavy rice, beans, and tortillas, but a salad with the right toppings will fill you up and taste delicious. And the sour cream and guacamole (it costs extra, but it’s worth it!) will help you increase your fat intake.

Another reason to give Chipotle some consideration is its offering of a keto-specific menu item. In January 2019, Chipotle announced a number of “Lifestyle bowls” to cater to people interested in specific diets, including Whole30, Paleo, and Keto. Currently, you can only order the “keto bowl” online or via the Chipotle app. If you want to order it in-store, simply order a burrito bowl with carnitas, romaine lettuce, red salsa, cheese, and guacamole. Voila - a keto bowl!

If that specific bowl doesn’t suit your fancy, there are plenty of other options. Because every bowl is different, we’ve included the nutrition facts for individual ingredients below. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we think it will provide you with a solid start. Chipotle’s nutrition calculator is extremely easy to play around with if you want to figure out exactly what you’d get by building a bowl or salad for yourself, so check it out.


  • 0g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 10 calories
  • 7g fat, 0g carbs, 32g protein, 180 calories
  • 6g fat, 1g carbs, 21g protein, 150 calories
  • 12g fat, 0g carbs, 23g protein, 210 calories
  • 7g fat, 2g carbs, 24g protein, 170 calories
  • 18g fat, 2g carbs, 32g protein, 300 calories
Fajita vegetables
  • 0g fat, 5g carbs, 1g protein, 20 calories
Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • 0g fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, 25 calories
Tomatillo-Green Chili Salsa
  • 0g fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, 15 calories
Tomatillo-Red Chili Salsa
  • 0g fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, 30 calories
  • 8g fat, 4g carbs, 6g protein, 120 calories
Sour Cream
  • 9g fat, 2g carbs, 2g protein, 110 calories
  • 8g fat, 1g carbs, 6g protein, 110 calories
  • 22g fat, 8g carbs, 2g protein, 230 calories

#9: Arby’s

Arby’s provides a number of sandwiches that feature good cuts of meat that are great without the bread or in a salad. It's one of the restaurants on our list with the most extensive list of options. Check out their nutrition calculator and decide for yourself.

Roast Beef Sandwich -- No Bread

  • 10g fat, 1g carbs, 16g protein, 150 calories
Double Roast Beef Sandwich -- No Bread
  • 20g fat, 2g carbs, 31g protein, 310 calories
Beef ‘n’ Cheddar -- No Bread
  • 17g fat, 7g carbs, 16g protein, 250 calories
Smokehouse Brisket -- No Bread
  • Modification: Remove crispy onion straws
  • 27g fat, 3g carbs, 28g protein, 360 calories
Loaded Italian -- No Bread
  • Modifications: Remove onions, tomatoes, and banana peppers
  • 38g fat, 6g carbs, 25g protein, 360 calories
French Dip -- No Bread
  • 20g fat, 11g carbs, 28g protein, 330 calories
Grand Turkey Club -- No Bread
  • 20g fat, 4g carbs, 26g protein, 300 calories
Reuben -- No Bread
  • 26g fat, 7g carbs, 25g protein, 350 calories
Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad 
  • Modification: Remove tomatoes
  • 13g fat, 7g carbs, 23g protein, 240 calories
Chopped Side Salad
  • 4.5g fat, 3g carbs, 4g protein, 70 calories
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 22g fat, 2g carbs, 0g protein, 210 calories
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 12g fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, 130 calories
Light Italian Dressing
  • 1g fat, 2g carbs, 0g protein, 20 calories

#10: Jimmy John's

If you like “subs so fast you’ll freak” and being able to eat keto, Jimmy John’s is your place. Just ask for an “unwich” and they’ll substitute the bread for lettuce on any of their sandwiches. If you go to the "unwich” section of their website, they’ll tell you that any of their sandwiches ordered as an “unwich” has no more than 10g of carbs. And if you download their nutrition guide, you can see the nutritional value for all of their unwiches. Just follow the column labeled “u” for each nutritional category. For your ease, here are some of their more popular sandwiches we think would be good choices based on protein and fat content.

#8 -- Roast Beef, Ham & Provolone

  • 30.5g fat, 6g carbs, 35g protein, 440 calories
#15 -- Tuna Salad and Provolone
  • 40g fat, 7g carbs, 27g protein, 495 calories
#9 -- Big Italian
  • 44g fat, 9g carbs, 33g protein, 560 calories
#12 -- Turkey Breast, Provolone, Avocado
  • 38g fat, 8g carbs, 31g protein, 470 calories
JJ Gargantuan
  • 47g fat, 10g carbs, 63g protein, 710 calories
#1 - Ham and Provolone
  • 28g fat, 6g carbs, 19g protein, 350 calories
Slim 1
  • 11g fat, 4g carbs, 19g protein, 190 calories
Slim 3
  • 22g fat, 5g carbs, 11 protein, 270 calories

#11: Chick-fil-A

Who doesn’t love a good #1 Classic Chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A? Well, you’ll have to make a judgment call for yourself on whether or not you want to eat it. Without the bun, the sandwich nets out at 10g of carbs, so you could technically eat it if you’re strict in other areas. Their grilled options are a safer bet, but we’ll let you make the call here. In all, Chick-fil-A provides a pretty easy keto eating experience (except on Sundays when it’s closed). Here’s how some of the numbers shake out according to the Chick-fil-A website and our friends over at No Bun Please

Grilled Chicken Breast -- No Bun

  • 3g fat, 2g carbs, 19g protein, 110 calories
Grilled Chicken Breast Deluxe -- No Bun
  • 10g fat, 3g carbs, 26g protein, 180 calories
4-piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets
  • 2g fat, 1g carbs, 13g protein, 70 calories
6-piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets
  • 2.5g fat, 2g carbs, 19g protein, 110 calories
8-piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets
  • 3g fat, 2g carbs, 25g protein, 140 calories
12-piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets
  • 5g fat, 3g carbs, 38g protein, 210 calories
4-piece Original Nuggets
  • 6g fat, 5g carbs, 14g protein, 130 calories
6-piece Original Nuggets
  • 9g fat, 7g carbs, 21g protein, 190 calories
8-piece Original Nuggets
  • 12g fat, 9g carbs, 28g protein, 260 calories
12-piece Original Nuggets
  • 18g fat, 14g carbs, 41g protein, 390 calories
Original Chicken Breast -- No Bun
  • 11g fat, 10g carbs, 23g protein, 230 calories
If you’re interested in a salad, go with the basic salad, add some chicken and a high-fat dressing. Here are the most keto-friendly dressings we found.

Creamy Salsa

  • 31g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 290 calories
Avocado Ranch Lime
  • 32g fat, 3g carbs, 1g protein, 310 calories
Garlic Herb and Ranch
  • 29g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 280 calories
Light Italian
  • 1g fat, 3g carbs, 0g protein, 25 calories

That’s a Wrap (No Bun Intended)

Just because you can eat fast food and remain keto doesn’t mean you should make a habit out of it. We recommend taking the time to meal prep so that you can make sure you’re putting good, healthy food into your body and so that you know exactly what you’re consuming. A little work on the front end goes a long way.

That being said, there is freedom so go easy on yourself! Sometimes life gets hectic and fast food is the easiest option. Other times, you really just need to satisfy that craving for a Burger King Whopper or a Chipotle burrito bowl. We get it. When that happens,  feel free to grab a burger or sandwich (without the bun, of course). If you follow our guidelines, you’ll be able to keto-fy your favorite fast food choices while staying on track toward reaching your health goals.

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