Your Guide to Keto Fast Food
It’s lunch time and you didn’t have time to prepare food last night. You had a million things you had to do and places you need to go. Errands were waiting to be done left and right. It’s already past noon, you’re starving, and ready to break your fast. You drive around and you see Mcdonald’s, Jack-in-the-Box, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. You are doing so well with your keto diet and hundreds of fast food surround you…
I know fast-food restaurants are not the best options. But life happens–it gets busy and we just really need to turn to Mickey D’s and Jack. What if I tell you that you can still eat fast food and maintain your keto lifestyle to lose weight?
Here are some tips on how to stay in ketosis when eating out.
YOUR GUIDE TO KETO FAST FOOD
GENERAL TIPS WHEN EATING OUT
Avoid notorious fast food carbs like breads, grains, baked goods that are loaded with sugar, noodles, tortillas, wraps, pitas, taco shells.
Stick with meats and vegetables. You can never go wrong when you keep this in mind. When in doubt, just go with meats and vegetables.
Be cautious with sauces. Watch out for sweet sauces like ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, sweet and sour. Opt for regular mustard, mayo, garlic aiolo (my fave), sour cream, pesto, and guacamole.
Go for high-fat and creamy dressings like ranch, cilantro, and cesar. Extra virgin olive oil is also the best way to get those good fats in when consumed raw as a salad dressing. Watch out for some vinaigrettes as they usually contain sugar. Be cautious of how much dressing you put in, as at the end of the day, calories still matter and you can easily overdo it with the dressings.
Ask questions – A LOT! Most restaurants even fast food are very accommodating and are aware of every individual’s nutritional needs. Nowadays, we have Keto, Vegan, Paleo, Vegetarian, Keto-Vegan, Keto-Carvnivore, Gluten-Free–so many combinations you can think of and restaurants are now very customizable due to the variety of eating lifestyles.
Stay away from deep fried foods and lean towards broiled or grilled meats. Most restaurants use canola or vegetable oil to fry foods which probably are one for the worst things you can feed your body.
Pick a salad or steamed veggies as your side options. Those French fries and onion rings are really good. But vegetables are the way to go!
FAST FOOD “FOOD GROUPS”
Breakfast menu on American fast food chains are typically the same. Bacon, sausage, eggs, cheese, and ham all sandwiched with different types of bread and marketed under various names. Buns, brioche, panini, biscuit — all turns to McGriddles, McMuffins, Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, and a lot more.
Here’s what you can do:
- Just take out the breads from these breakfast sandwiches.
- Or order bacon, sausage, eggs, or ham separately. They all can be ordered as a side.
- Avoid pancakes, waffles, potatoes, crepes
Burgers & Sandwiches
- Take out the buns, sandwich bread, loaves, pitas, tortillas, and order protein-style.
- Leave veggies alone. Although some might contain carbohydrates, the nutritional benefits that vegetables contribute outweighs the carb content. Plus, it adds moisture to your meat and balances out the saltiness.
- Watch out for sauces like ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce that burgers usually come with (see Eating out in General above for suggestions)
- If you have some change to spare, ask to add avocados!
Some restaurants now offer cauliflower crusts! Most classic pizza topics work exceptionally well with keto: tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese, ham, sausage, chicken, mushrooms, green/red bell peppers, and, olives. Save Hawaiian for a cheat meal as pineapples are fruits that contain fructose, a form of sugar.
- Choose high-fat content dressing like ranch, cesar, southwest, etc. Any cream and olive oil based dressing are usually high in fat.
- Avoid salad toppings like tortilla chips, corn, beans, and crispy wontons, to name a few.
- Add in some cheese, avocados, olives, bell peppers, and sour cream
- A very good way to get in your daily servings of vegetables. You’d be surprise to find yourself eating more greens in the keto diet since you’ve removed the carbohydrates that usually go with your meals.
- Meat choices are usually limited with fast food restaurants. Go for grilled meats like grilled chicken and avoid battered meats or “crispy chicken” as they would like to call them.
- Mexican restaurants usually have more fatty meat options like pork carnitas. High in fat and packed with flavors! There are also carne asada, shrimp, and al pastor.
The following drinks are acceptable in keto:
- Diet soda (see note below)
- Unsweetened iced tea
- Black coffee or with added heavy cream or half-and-half
- Ice cold water
- Stay away from sugar-loaded drinks like fruit juices, macchiatos, regular sodas
Note on diet sodas: Since we’ve entered the realm of dirty keto by talking about fast food restaurants, I thought I’d include diet sodas as part of the options. Diet sodas will work and would not kick you out of ketosis. But there’s a caveat:
If you are doing dirty keto where you do not care about the quality of food you consume, diet soda is acceptable. However, if you care about food quality and practice a wholesome lifestyle, do not drink diet soda as it contains aspertame which is extremely bad for your health.
I’ve witnessed people who still reaped off of the benefits of keto doing dirty version and have experienced success with their weightloss. You do you, boo!
With these tips in mind, use this simple guideline when eating out and you can never go stray from keto. To help you out on choosing what kinds of foods are approved on keto, check this article out:
What to Eat on a Keto Diet where I also provide you with a cheat sheet that contains list of foods that can help you maintain that carb intake and ensure you get enough good fats in your diet.
It’s a busy life, make time for youself!