Best fast-food options for keto and low-carb on McDonald's and Burger King
McDonald’s and Burger King are two of the biggest and most successful fast-food chains in the U.S. Choosing fast food that fits into your diet can be challenging, particularly when following a restrictive meal plan like the keto diet. Burger joints can be somewhat keto-friendly as long as you're willing to give up the french fries and the buns.
The latest low-carbohydrate diets like the keto diet and carnivore diet continue to grow in popularity as would-be beach bod-havers trade sandwich bread, buns, and french fries for bacon and cheese.
Here are the best keto-friendly and low-carb options at McDonald's and Burger King. Even though calorie counting is not a necessity on the ketogenic diet, do be conscious of calorie intake, particularly at fast-food burger joints like McDonald's and Burger King, as they can have other negative implications on health.
McDonald's is a classic for cheap and quick and fast food, and it's no enemy to the keto- and low-carb diet if you simply skip the bun. And when you order a salad, you'll also want to avoid the dressing and croutons (it's probably relatively high in sugars).
What to Order
All of the McMuffins and other breakfast sandwiches without bread are fair games, including a morning caffeine boost and a black coffee.
And any grilled chicken sandwich, grilled chicken bacon ranch, or quarter pounder with cheeseburger without the bread or ketchup will work for the rest of the day. And if you order a salad, be sure to skip the ranch dressing. It has added sugar. Alternatively, go for an oil and vinegar dressing like Italian. Here are some of the keto-friendly and lower carb options:
When you ask for no bread, they'll typically serve these in a bowl with lettuce and a fork. Some locations might not know what really to do if you order "bunless," so order it as it comes and tosses the bun.
Stay away from the hash brown pancakes, burritos, and oatmeal. Chicken nuggets are also off-limits as the breading makes the carb count rise immediately. And the fries are a no-go.
Price examples for two dishes on McDonald’s (2020).
- A quarter pounder with cheese, without a bun $4.29.
- Grilled chicken/bacon salad with Ranch dressing $5.49.
Burger King is a popular-priced fast-food chain that also has some low-carb alternatives. You can simply order a double cheeseburger without the bun and stay on a keto-friendly diet.
What to Order
Stick with burgers, the grilled chicken sandwich, cheeseburgers, Whopper, or Double Whopper without bread or ketchup. Like the Farmhouse King, some of the other sandwiches creep up in carbs without lots of customization. Options include:
Price examples for two dishes on Burger King (2020).
- Triple whopper without the bun $5.99.
- Grilled chicken club salad $5.89.
Typical burger meals from fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King are high in carbs due to their buns. For a keto-friendly version of a fast-food burger meal, skip the bun and any toppings high in carbs. Popular high-carb toppings include ketchup, honey mustard sauce, breaded onions, and teriyaki sauce.
Swap the above toppings with salsa, mayo, fried egg, avocado, mustard, lettuce, onions, ranch dressing, or tomato to cut back on carbohydrates and add some extra fat to your meal.
Bunless burgers are an easy, keto-friendly fast-food that will keep you satiated when eating on the go.
Eating keto and low-carb at fast-food chains can be done. The main options are either burgers without a bun or salads.