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How to eat out while staying in ketosis

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is highly restrictive, which can sometimes make eating out difficult. However, making small changes to many popular menu items can create keto friendly fast food.

A keto diet aims to put the body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

People following a keto diet typically eat high fats, moderate proteins, and very low carbohydrates. On a 2,000 calorie per day diet, carbs would amount to no more than 20–50 grams (g).

Often, fast foods contain added sugars and a high amount of carbs. So, to remain in ketosis, people following a keto diet need to choose keto friendly fast food wisely.

There are different variations of the keto diet. Some fast food choices contain higher amounts of protein than some keto diets allow.

However, people have different protein and energy requirements according to their weight, sex, and activity levels. Someone may want to adapt their fast food choices according to their needs.

This article looks at some popular keto friendly fast food choices and details their macronutrients and calories. It also discusses which foods and ingredients to avoid and some alternatives to order.

Many popular restaurants have menu items that can be made keto friendly by adding or omitting some ingredients.

Keto friendly fast food options include the following:

McDonald’s Cheeseburger, no bun

Avoiding the bun and high sugar condiments makes a cheeseburger keto friendly.

A single McDonald’s Cheeseburger with cheese, onions, and mustard has the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 150
  • Carbs: 2 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Fat: 11 g

McDonald’s Egg and Sausage Patty

People can choose the Egg and Sausage Patty from the McDonald’s Big Breakfast and omit the high carb hash brown and biscuit.

This contains:

  • Calories: 340
  • Carbs: 3 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Fat: 27 g

In-N-Out Burger, with lettuce

People can replace the bun with lettuce at In-N-Out Burger. This provides the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 240
  • Carbs: 11 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Fat: 17 g

Chipotle Keto Salad Bowl

This meal is a chicken-based bowl with added cheese, salsa, and guacamole. It also contains greens for extra nutrition.

However, the bowl has a higher protein ratio than some keto diets allow.

The nutritional information for the keto bowl is as follows:

  • Calories: 560
  • Carbs: 16 g
  • Protein: 41 g
  • Fat: 37 g

Chipotle Carnitas and Chicken Salad Bowl

People can choose their ingredients for a salad bowl. A low carb combination might consist of:

  • half carnitas
  • half chicken
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • guacamole
  • supergreens lettuce blend

The above combination contains the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 550
  • Carbs: 12 g
  • Protein: 36.5 g
  • Fat: 39.5 g

Chili’s Crispy Cheddar Bites

As a starter, the nutritional information for Chili’s Crispy Cheddar Bites is as follows:

  • Calories: 580
  • Carbs: 18 g
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Fat: 47 g

Wendy’s Double Stack Cheeseburger

To make this suitable for a keto diet, a person can omit the bun and add extra ranch dressing.

The nutritional information for this combination is as follows:

  • Calories: 320
  • Carbs: 2 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Fat: 26 g

Wendy’s Baconator

For a keto friendly breakfast, people can omit the bun and condiments and add extra avocado and blue cheese crumbles.

The nutritional information for this combination is as follows:

  • Calories: 960
  • Carbs: 7 g
  • Protein: 60 g
  • Fat: 78 g

Because this option provides 60 g of protein, its protein content may be too high for certain keto diets.

Five Guys Hot Dog

Choosing a Five Guys Hot Dog without the bun provides the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 280
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Fat: 26 g

A person could add the following items from the Five Guys menu to their meal and still keep it keto friendly:

  • mayonnaise
  • grilled mushrooms
  • bacon

KFC Fried Chicken Drumsticks and Coleslaw

A person could order KFC Fried Chicken Drumsticks and add a serving of KFC Coleslaw for a keto friendly option.

Each drumstick has the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 179
  • Carbs: 4 g
  • Protein: 16.7 g
  • Fat: 10.7 g

One hundred grams of the coleslaw provides:

  • Calories: 144
  • Carbs: 15.6 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 8.6 g

It is important to note that the carbs in 100 g of the coleslaw will provide about one-third of the day’s total allowance of 50 g.

There are some ingredients and fast foods that people following a keto diet may wish to avoid.

These foods tend to be high in sugar or carbs. They include:

  • full sugar soft drinks
  • breads, including burger buns, muffins, and wraps
  • fries and hash browns
  • biscuits
  • ketchup
  • salad croutons
  • certain sauces, such as barbecue, teriyaki, and honey and mustard dressing
  • rice and noodles

The following tips can help someone enjoy their fast food meal while staying in ketosis:

  • Ask to swap high sugar sauces for high fat condiments, such as mayonnaise or olive oil.
  • Choose full fat salad dressings, but be sure to check the sugar content.
  • Request a side salad instead of a burger bun.
  • Add some extra avocado to a burger or chicken salad.
  • Ask for some extra cheese or cheese slices instead of buns or other forms of bread.
  • Choose a bowl rather than a taco or wrap.
  • Use lettuce leaves as substitutes for buns.

For quick snacks, people can also eat whole foods that are quick and convenient to prepare or buy from a grocery store.

Some keto friendly ideas include:

  • jerky
  • boiled eggs with mayonnaise
  • olives
  • avocado
  • cheese
  • nuts
  • celery paired with dips or dressings made with cream cheese or sour cream and mayonnaise

Fast foods based on meat and cheese can be suitable for people following a keto diet if they omit high carb ingredients, such as breads, noodles, rice, and sweetened sauces.

Many fast food restaurants allow people to design their meals to their requirements and provide detailed nutritional information.

However, many fast food options often contain saturated fats, which can have adverse health effects.

The longer-term health effects of keto diets are controversial, and a person may wish to use the diet for the shorter term.