If you’re reading this then it’s safe to assume you are at this moment or will soon be on a ketogenic diet, that’s great news. The question at hand is how do you order fast food when you’re out in social settings (or by yourself) and stay in ketosis? Is it even possible… yes, but you have to do it wisely.
A few keto-friendly fast food tips
When ordering out it’s going to be a challenge anytime you consider a new establishment. There are some keto friendly staples you can stick with which most fast food chains offer and here they are:
- Salads- this one comes with a few details as clearly ordering a salad from most fast food places isn’t exactly going to yield the best salad for you. You want leafy greens with non-starchy veggies. This means radish, tomatoes, bell peppers & raw onions can all be just fine. Anything that is not a leafy green should be kept to roughly half a cup in volume, anything over that and you are teetering on the edge.
- Burgers- without the bun and minimal condiments will almost always be fine. It may be a good idea to perform a search online for the burger of your choice just to see what those nutrition facts look like first.
- Grilled chicken breasts- always good if not covered in any sauce.
- Hot dogs- these need to be without the bun as well and it’s a good idea to look up nutrition facts on these too before hand if you can. It’s super simple to do either at home on the computer or with your smartphone.
- Eggs- again, these are just fine if they’re on their own and with the yolk is even better.
- Ham & sausages- following similar cautions as with hotdogs, barring any crazy additives these should be fine but again, look them up online to be certain.
Items to stay away from while on keto
Just as there is the nice list, we also have a naughty list and it’s packed full of plenty of the foods you probably already suspected:
- Breaded chicken nuggets or fingers or wings
- Breaded chicken breasts
- Bread all by it’s self
- Any other type of bread, basically!
Something important to consider anytime you’re eating out is what your food is topped with in terms of sauces and condiments. You need to be sure you know what you’re getting otherwise you risk losing your keto-status and will have to wait for your body to fall back into it all over again.
A list of keto friendly toppings & condiments
Keeping to the topic of what’s on your food, here is a list of some acceptable options which you can find at just about most fast food joints and certainly in most restaurants:
- Most keto-friendly raw nuts
- Lettuce leaf
- Tomato slice
- Fresh onion
- Cheese- most types in moderation
- Pickles- in moderation
- Dill relish- in moderation
- Hot sauces
- Olive oil
- Salsa- if it’s tomato based
- Sour cream
And just to make it easy for you, here is a short & sweet list of toppings to steer clear of. You will probably need to request that these things not be put in your food but such is the price we pay when being health conscious while on the ketogenic diet:
- Fruit- dry or fresh, it doesn’t matter.
- Nuts with some sugar on it such as ‘honey roasted’
- Tortilla strips
- Most salad dressings- check nutrition facts to see which are fine
- Barbecue sauce
Best vs Worst
When it comes to sides and drinks the list is just as important. The best option for any meal-out is probably going to be a salad that’s made keto-conscious. This means hold on the bread crumbs, dried fruit and starch-rich veggies. Keep all other options within a reasonable amount as it all still adds up and those carbs could wind up sneaking up on you. As for a list of some of the worst sides you could go with, here it is:
- Most soups- check on nutrition facts for these
- Fresh fruit- dried fruit too
- Tater tots
- Mozzarella sticks
- Onion rings
Let’s talk beverages
Ideally the two best drink options while on keto are water and unsweetened tea, coffee is fine too. Those are boring however and we know it so here is a quick and dirty list about keeping your drinks clean while on keto.
The best drinks:
- Coffee- black with no additives but heavy cream in moderation
- Tea- unsweetened
- Diet soda- these are permitted but in extreme moderation
- Bottled or filtered water
- Water- of course!
The worst drinks:
- Blended coffees with sugary additives
- Sweetened tea
- Non-diet sodas
The lists and suggestions contained within this handy article are by no means all inclusive but are however meant to act as a guide and to get you thinking about your options when dining out. It’s always a good idea to plan before you eat, it’s very important to know what those macros look like in the food you’re considering before you buy and eat it.