Keto Takeout: Where to Go and What to Order

Yes – it is totally possible to eat fast food while following the keto diet!

The keto diet is about reducing your carbohydrate intake while increasing your fat intake, so your body can enter the state of ketosis.

You can’t just focus on the ratio of carbs to fat though. What you actually eat is still important. You should be eating whole, real foods, with plenty of low-carb veggies.

It is easy enough to control when you make your meals, but there are times where you are stuck out on the road and you need to get something quick.

You can try to prevent this from happening by keeping a small cooler in your car if you know are going to be out for a while, and filling it with keto-friendly snacks. Good options to have on hand are beef jerky, string cheese, and small packs of nuts.

While ordering from a fast food place is not ideal, there are ways you can make it work to fit with the keto diet. And some fast food places are better than others – especially those that offer unprocessed meat options, and plenty of low-carb veggies.

Easy tips for eating out keto

No matter where you end up, there are some basic guidelines to help you with your order the next time you find yourself at a fast food restaurant.

Burgers tend to be quite high in carbs, due to to the buns (and often the ketchup). And of course, with a burger often comes fries.

To make your burger meal keto-friendly, forego the fries and ask for the burger without the bun and ketchup (and any other possible high-carb sauces). You are generally safe with mustard and mayo.

You can do the same approach above with chicken sandwiches. Make sure you select grilled chicken, rather than fried.

Some fast food places have picked up on the low-carb trend and are now offering lettuce-wrapped burgers

Burrito bowls make for a filling, keto-friendly option. Skip the wrap, shell, and rice and go for a lettuce base. Be sure to avoid high-carb toppings such as beans, corn, chips, and sweet dressings.

Same with salads – skip the high-carb toppings. Also, watch out for common salad toppings such as breaded chicken and croutons.

The best approach is to be prepared – and because you’re reading this, then that is exactly what you are doing.

When it comes to beverages, the general approach is to stay far away and stick to water. Some places – like Starbucks – will have coffee and tea options.

Keto-friendly options would be black coffee, coffee with cream, unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, or soda water.

Many fast food places include nutritional calculators on their website – have a look at your favorite spot, and see how to customize your meal. Then you can simply save the notes in your phone, and you are ready for any fast food-related emergency.

Best takeout places for keto

Subway

Subways are generally pretty easy to find. And any of their subs can be made as a salad, which is then keto-friendly.

What to order

When you choose a salad option, add cheese, olives, low-carb vegetable options ( green peppers, lettuce, spinach, and pickles), and then select a low-carb dressing.

They have a handy Nutritional Calculator so you can plan your meal ahead of time.

Image credit goes to Subway

Chipotle

It is surprisingly easy to get a healthy, keto meal at Chipotle!

What to order

Order a salad bowl with romaine lettuce as the base, then add your meat of choice, then top with any of the low-carb additions. You can choose from queso, tomato salsa, tomatillo-green chili salsa, tomatillo-red chili salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.

Chipotle also provides a handy Nutritional Calculator to help you plan ahead.

keto takeout chipotle

Image credit goes to Chipotle

McDonald’s

It is possible to grab a quick meal at McD’s that fills the tummy – even if it isn’t ideal.

What to order

For breakfast, you can order the McMuffins without the bread. For the rest of the day, you can order the burgers without the buns or ketchup.

They also serve salads – but be careful of the dressings. The ‘Cilantro Lime Glaze’ for example contains corn syrup and sugar.

To help plan so you’re not stuck at the last menu staring at the menu, have a look at their Nutritional Calculator.

keto takeout mcdonalds

Image credit goes to McDonald’s

Burger King

Similar offerings to McDonald’s, in terms of burgers.

What to order

Stick with the burger, cheeseburger, Whopper, Double Whopper, or the grilled chicken sandwich. Ask for no bun and no ketchup.

If you go for a chicken salad, choose the grilled chicken option, and no croutons.

For nutritional info, have a look at their handy Nutritional Calculator.

keto takeout burger king

Image credit goes to Burger King

Wendy’s

Another burger-based spot, so your approach here is similar to McDonald’s and Burger King. They do sell whole eggs, so you can add that to your order on the side.

What to order

Order one of these burgers, without the bun – Baconator, Double stack, Junior bacon cheeseburger. You can also order the grilled chicken sandwich and chicken BLT with no bun.

They also have a chicken cobb salad and Caesar salad.

Hardee’s / Carl’s Jr

One of the few chains that actually cater to the low-carb lifestyle, you will find plenty of options here.

What to order

For breakfast, they have a Low Carb Breakfast Bowl.

They also have the option to turn any of their burgers (except for the Teriyaki burger) low-carb by wrapping it in lettuce instead of the bun.

The Thickburgers are great options to have wrapped in lettuce!

They also have salad selections – watch out for the croutons.

Both chains have Nutritional Calculators on their sites – have a look at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Image credit goes to Hardee’s

Image credit goes to Carl’s Jr

In-N-Out Burger

The simple menu makes it easy to order low-carb.

What to order

Want to know a secret? Start your order with ‘protein style’ and they will swap the bun for a lettuce wrap! For example, “Protein style, double double”.

They also have specific low-carb options, like the Flying Dutchman.

You can find their Nutritional Information here.

keto takeout - in-n-out burger

Image credit goes to In-N-Out Burger

DIY Keto Fast Food

Fast food is definitely convenient, but homemade is always best – if you can manage it.

If you are leaning towards getting takeout because you are short on time, here some easy ‘fast food’ style keto-friendly meals you can whip up at home!

Bunless Burgers

Fry up a couple frozen patties, and while those are going, quickly slice up some low-carb veggies. Lay the patties on a bed of lettuce, top with your veggies, some avo, and tomato salsa.

Mini Pizzas

Slice up a large zucchini in rounds and put it in the oven. While the zucchini is baking for a few minutes, prep your ‘pizza’ toppings. Take the zucchini out, place your toppings on, and put back in the oven until the cheese melts.

Fajita Bowl

Fry up some steak strips (if you have chicken or steak leftover from a previous meal – even better!) Layer it over chopped lettuce and add any toppings you prefer. Avocado, tomato salsa, sour cream, and cheese a great options!

In summary

Stay away from the buns and fries.

Most places will happily take the bun away for you and even if they don’t, you can take it off.

You might even get lucky and have a place that will substitute the buns for a lettuce wrap. In that case, go crazy.

Anything that’s possibly breaded should be avoided at all costs, stick to any options that are grilled.

You should also be wary of the condiments since some can definitely have carbs sneak up on you. Mustard is ALWAYS a safe choice if you aren’t sure.