Keto Breakfast Fast Food: How to Eat Low-Carb Meals at Fast Food Restaurants
Egg McMuffin, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, Dunkin’ Turkey Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, and many more – some of the breakfast menu items at popular fast food joints.
I’m sure that if you’re on keto, you’ve probably given up fast food such as this altogether. But you don’t have to! While low-carb foods are more difficult to find at fast food places, it’s not impossible. And indulging in keto-friendly fast food once in a while won’t do you any harm.
After all, mornings can be hectic, and sometimes you just don’t have time to make breakfast. Whether you’re craving a cheese breakfast sandwich, a breakfast bowl packed with healthy fats and protein, or just a fried egg with some bacon, fast food has got you covered.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a keto fast food guide for breakfast which will help you navigate any fast food menu and allow you to indulge in a guilt-free keto fast food breakfast.
Can You Eat Fast Food on Keto?
Yes, you can eat fast food while on the ketogenic diet, but it requires a mindful approach. The key here is customizing your orders, like skipping that bun or swapping out the fries for a salad, but more on this later.
Moreover, with the increasing popularity of the keto lifestyle, many restaurants have started offering meals that cater to low-carb diets, such as bunless burgers and lettuce wraps. This means that, more often than not, you will be able to order a keto-friendly meal without having to make any changes to your order.
Pros and Cons of Eating Fast Food on Keto
Indulging in keto-friendly fast food can be beneficial, particularly for your social life and mental health.
For example, highly restrictive diets, such as keto, can make it difficult to dine out, which can lead to exclusion from family dinners or outings with your friends, resulting in social isolation and deteriorating mental health.
Of course, this is just one piece of the puzzle, but if you can find keto-friendly options at a place where you meet your friends, it can make balancing your social life and keto lifestyle that much easier.
Nevertheless, while you can find low-carb options at fast food restaurants, this type of food is not the healthiest option. It’s typically high in empty calories and doesn’t provide a whole lot of nutrients for your body.
In addition, fast food contains high amounts of sodium and sugar as well as saturated fats. Its ingredient quality is usually not on par with homemade or freshly prepared meals. Regularly visiting drive-throughs may hinder your weight loss progress and, most importantly, negatively impact your overall health.
How to Order a Keto-Friendly Breakfast at a Fast Food Chain?
Even though you can eat fast food while on the ketogenic diet, there are many ifs and buts you should be aware of before ordering a seemingly keto-friendly meal at a fast food place.
Here are our top 7 tips to help you navigate fast food menus and enjoy low-carb meals that won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Customize your order
Unlike fancy restaurants, fast food chains allow you to customize your order based on your preferences. This means that you can add or remove almost anything, allowing you to turn any menu item into a low-carb alternative.
For example, instead of a burger with a bun, you can request a lettuce wrap or have the bun removed entirely, significantly reducing the burger’s carb content.
Moreover, customizing your order can help you avoid hidden sources of carbs such as sauces, sweet dressings, or other condiments that may contain added sugars, enabling you to have better control of what goes into your meal.
Avoid bread and buns
Bread is a no-go when it comes to the ketogenic diet, effectively making popular burgers, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and the like not suitable for a ketogenic diet.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t order a burger, however. When making your order, simply ask for no bun. Some restaurants may be able to do a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. In fact, bunless burgers are becoming an actual menu item in many restaurants. Perhaps, in the future, they will become a staple in your favorite drive-through restaurant.
Skip the sauce
So, you ordered a low-carb breakfast meal at a fast food place? Congratulations! Some friendly advice, though – avoid those small packets of sauces.
A single pre-packaged sauce packet can contain a few hundred calories alone. In addition, they’re usually packed with sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats, easily undermining your efforts to stay in ketosis.
This also includes sauces inside your meal as well as salad dressings. Most fast food restaurants allow you to customize your order, so make sure to ask for no sauce.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that prioritizes healthy fats and protein over carbohydrates. Simply following the guidelines of the keto food pyramid will help you navigate fast food menus and find low-carb options that will keep you in ketosis.
When ordering, look for protein-rich menu items such as bacon, sausage, grilled chicken, or eggs. They’re generally low in carbohydrates and can be the foundation of a keto-friendly meal. Skip the bun and pair your protein with a lettuce wrap or eat it bare and ask for a side salad.
Salads are a staple of many low-carb diets – they’re usually low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and healthy fats.
A word of advice, however – be cautious of salad dressings as they’re often high in calories and added sugars. When ordering a salad, take advantage of their customization options, and ask for a dressing with a low-carb profile or no dressing at all.
In addition, use the nutritional information provided to avoid unnecessary carbohydrate content such as croutons, a common ingredient in salads.
Read the nutritional information
Understanding nutritional labels can be a game-changer when it comes to ordering keto-friendly breakfast meals. By taking the time to read nutritional information, you will be able to assess the amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats in a particular meal, enabling you to identify low-carb options.
Almost every fast food restaurant provides nutritional information for their meals. Ideally, you should check this information beforehand for a stress-free breakfast. Nutritional information is usually available on their website in the menu section.
Keto-Friendly Breakfast Fast Food Options at Popular Fast Food Chains
More and more restaurants are making their menus inclusive – just go to the nearest one, and you will find gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian, vegan, and halal options, among many more.
This also includes low-carb options as well, making it easier to dine out for those on the keto diet.
Check out our list of low-carb breakfast meals you can order when you find yourself in a fast food place. Keep in mind that you will have to ask for a custom order in most cases, as you will be removing ingredients that are not suitable for keto.
- Big Breakfast, without the biscuit and hash browns (approx. 3g nets carbs)
- Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles, without the McGriddle cakes (approx. 2g net carbs)
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, without the biscuit (approx. 4g net carbs)
- Egg McMuffin, without the muffin (approx. 3g net carbs)
- Sausage Burrito, without tortilla (approx. 3g net carbs)
- Side Salad (approx. 2g net carbs)
- Diet Coke (0g net carbs)
- Unsweetened Iced Tea/Coffee (0g net carbs)
- Hot Tea (0g net carbs)
- Americano (0g net carbs)
- Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito Bacon/Sausage/Steak, without tortilla (approx. 3g net carbs)
- Breakfast Quesadilla Bacon/Sausage/Steak, without tortilla (approx. 4g net carbs)
- Power Menu Bowl, without rice and black beans (approx. 4g net carbs)
- Pepsi Zero (0g net carbs)
- Diet Dr. Pepper (0g net carbs)
- Mountain Dew (0g net carbs)
- Breakfast Baconator, without the buns (approx. 6g net carbs)
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich, without the buns (approx. 3g net carbs)
- 4 Pc Chicken Nuggets (approx. 4.9g net carbs)
- Diet Coke (0g net carbs)
- Sprite Zero (0g net carbs)
- Americano (0g net carbs)
- Espresso (0g net carbs)
- Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites (approx. 8g net carbs)
- Bacon & Gruyère Egg Bites (approx. 7g net carbs)
- Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (approx. 8g net carbs)
Starbucks is most popular for its fine selection of coffee and other delicious drinks. Following a keto diet does not mean you have to give up your morning cup of coffee. Here are some low-carb drink options you can order at Starbucks:
- Hot/Iced Caffè Americano (0g net carbs)
- Cold Brew Coffee (0g net carbs)
- Any of the Brewed Coffees (0g net carbs)
- Black, Green, and Herbal Teas (0g net carbs)
When making your order, make sure to avoid adding any syrups, whipped cream, or other add-ons.
Keto Breakfast Fast Food Options
There are plenty of recipes that imitate fast food, allowing for a healthier alternative to a Happy Meal. Check out our list of the best keto breakfast fast food recipes you can remake at home.
Probably one of the easiest low-carb breakfast meals you can prepare in just a few minutes. It’s simple – take your favorite sandwich and remove the bread. It can be substituted for a cult-favorite lettuce wrap, portobello mushrooms, or sliced low-carb vegetables. You can also stuff the ingredients of your sandwich into a bell pepper.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different ingredients until you find one that works the best for your tastes.
Eggs are a staple ingredient for many breakfast dishes as well as a staple among those who follow the ketogenic diet. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are low in carbs, making them a great base for a low-carb breakfast.
For example, fry some eggs, add a few slices of bacon, and some tomatoes – you’ve got yourself a low-carb breakfast meal with flavors reminiscent of junk food (without the junk).
Moreover, you can easily remake specific breakfast meals, such as Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites, and make them even more keto-friendly.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – salads always make a delicious and healthy meal. However, many of the salads available at fast food restaurants are tossed with heavily processed salad dressings which may contain hidden sugars.
When ordering a salad, you’re often left with no choice but to forgo the dressing altogether, leaving you with a rather bland salad.
But not when you’re making them yourself! The best thing about making your own salads is that you get to create your own delicious dressing. Check out some of our salads with low-carb dressing, such as our Chicken Salad With Walnut Dressing or Tofu Salad With Sesame Dressing.
Among the many breakfast fast food options, a breakfast bowl stands out as a highly versatile dish that can be made with low-carb ingredients.
At McDonald’s, for instance, it’s often made with hash browns or bruschetta, both of which are not suitable for a keto diet.
A homemade breakfast bowl is a much healthier option than the one you can order at Mcdonald’s. By making your breakfast at home, you ensure that your ingredients are not just keto-friendly but that they’re also high quality, ensuring that your breakfast is free of saturated fat or artificial flavoring.
A burrito bowl contains the guts of a burrito. It’s essentially a burrito without the tortilla, making it a great option for anyone on a low-carb diet. A burrito bowl allows you to incorporate a variety of keto-friendly ingredients to create a flavorful low-carb breakfast.
Low-carb rice substitutes (that you won’t find in a fast food place) make an excellent base for a keto-friendly burrito bowl. Making it at home also allows you to add healthy sources of protein, such as lean cuts of beef or pork.
Tofu is another excellent low-carb option to add to your burrito bowl that you usually won’t find in any fast food meal.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making a burrito bowl, however, one of which is to skip the beans. A traditional burrito is made with beans; however, beans are relatively high in carbs, making them incompatible with most low-carb diets.
Need more fast food keto breakfast recipes? Check out Keto Cycle – a mobile app designed to make your keto journey easier. You are sure to find something that fits your tastes in our vast library of low-carb recipes.
Eating fast food while on keto might seem impossible but with a little research and planning, you can find keto breakfast fast food options at almost any fast food place, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and many others.
While hot dogs, ice cream treats, and refreshing frappes are out of the question, you don’t have to forgo fast food altogether.
Remember to do your research beforehand, read the nutrition information, and customize your orders. Avoid any sources of bread such as burger buns, tortillas, and tortilla chips, skip the sauces, and, if possible, ask to make substitutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I eat at a fast food restaurant for breakfast on keto?
There are many low-carb options to choose from, as long as you’re willing to do some research and are ready to customize your order – avoid bread and skip the sauce, dressing, and condiments to avoid unnecessary carbs.
In general, bunless breakfast sandwiches are a good keto breakfast option that you can find in almost any fast food place. If you feel like it’s not filling enough without the buns, grab a salad on the side.
What is the best keto breakfast to order at a restaurant?
While the best keto fast food options may vary from person to person, some of our favorites include:
- McDonald’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, without the biscuit – a classic breakfast sandwich featuring a folded egg, a slice of cheese, and smoked bacon
- Taco Bell Chessy Toasted Breakfast Burrito – a hearty breakfast burrito with bacon, egg, and nacho cheese sauce
- Taco Bell Power Menu Bowl, without the rice and black beans – a breakfast-friendly bowl featuring chicken, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and guacamole
- Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich, without the buns – a savory breakfast sandwich with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and lettuce
What is the lowest-carb breakfast item at McDonald’s?
Salads are always a good option when it comes to low-carb breakfast. McDonald’s side salads contain around 2g of carbs, while a full portion of Grilled Chicken Salad usually provides 5g of carbs.
Remember to avoid salads with fried chicken as it’s usually fried with tempura batter, which significantly increases the salads’ carbohydrate content.
Most burgers and sandwiches are also relatively low in carbs as soon as you drop the bun.