Keto Salads At Fast Food Places
You probably already know this, but salads arent Keto automatically. For all your life, you have seen people eating only salad when they were on a diet. And all your life you saw them be unhappy, and rarely or never actually lose weight.
Thats because salads are mostly carbs. Yes, I know, vegetables are good, so more is better.
But thats not how it works in Keto. A bowl full of veggies, with a sweetened sauce, is actually not going to help you lose weight very much, as you probably already know.
Knowing what we know now, a bowl of fat is actually way better for weight loss! Who would have thought that a few years ago?
The amount of carbs from many salad toppings like dressings, sweet marinades, fresh ordried fruit, and other knick knacks can add up to trouble fast.
Keto Fast Food Salad Options
Low carb fast food salads are relatively easy to come by, even if you have to swap the dressing or pick off some ingredients.
You can get keto friendly salads with low carb ingredients such as lettuce , tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions , cheese, bacon, avocado, guacamole, grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, nuts or seeds , etc.
However, be careful because many fast food salads have added carbs. Salad ingredients to avoid on keto include:
- Fried or breaded chicken
- All fruit except berries
You can either ask them to omit these ingredients or remove them yourself.
Salad dressings are probably the most challenging part. Your safest best for dressing is oil and vinegar. The next best options are fatty dressing such as plain ranch, Caesar, or blue cheese, but even these can have starches added.
My preference for salad dressings for my keto fast food meals? I bring my own! They keep really well so I always have some in my fridge anyway and its easy to grab with me even if Im going out last-minute.
Some keto salad dressings to try:
- Keto Ranch Dressing The most popular one on the blog! Readers tell me it tastes like their favorite name brand bottled stuff.
- Keto Honey Mustard from The Easy Keto Cookbook This tastes like Chick-Fil-A, in my humble opinion.
What Is The Best Low
- 7 minute read
What is the Best low-carb fast food? 15 options
When youre eating low carb or doing a strict ketogenic diet, one of the biggest challenges is eating out. Most fast-food restaurants offer mainly high carb meals which are rich in trans fats and not very high in other nutrients.
Does this mean your keto meal plan is doomed once you have to eat out? Definitely not!
While this list may not be exhaustive, here a few guidelines to help you make the right food choices, especially if you feel unsure of your meal options.
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What Is Considered Low Carb
While there is no set or strict definition of a low-carb diet, there are some guidelines to keep in mind if you are interested in lowering your carb intake.
“According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended to make 45-65 percent of your diet consist of carbohydrates,” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, who serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living. “A low-carb diet can technically mean a diet that contains a carbohydrate percentage less than the recommended amountless than 45 percent of the diet.”
There are other low-carb diets that cut back on carbs even more. “Some popular low-carbohydrate diets set much lower carbohydrate expectations. For example, the keto diet typically allows no more than 5-10 percent of calories from carbohydrates, which for a 2000-calorie diet is just 25-50 grams of carbohydrates daily. To put this in perspective, a medium apple contains 25 grams of carbohydrates,” says Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, and a licensed dietitian with Livin3.
What Is A Low Carb Diet
One of the most common reasons people choose to go on a low-carb diet is to burn fat and lose weight. And what most people dont know is that there are many different variations of this diet. Theres low-carb, high fat and low-carb, high protein. Then, theres the ketogenic diet .
Many dieticians and dieters themselves believe that weight loss happens because the bodys insulin levels drop. As a result, decreased insulin levels signal to the body to start burning fat for energy. While that may sound intimidating, its completely healthy as long as you consume the proper nutrition in other areas. Studies also show that eating a low carb diet can result in lower blood sugar and blood pressure, a reduced appetite, and increased metabolism.
So, how many carbs can you eat on a low carb diet? As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for a total of 20 to 60 grams per day, depending on what your goals are. Generally, the point of a low-carb diet is to intake less than half of the recommended daily carb load, which is around 130 grams.
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Kale And Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche
Kale is a leafy green vegetable high in nutrients including Vitamins A, C and K. Her, its mixed with chopped mushrooms and eggs for a low-carb, low calorie take on traditional quiche. The breadless crust is made from the sweet, noodle like strands of spaghetti squash, baked until tender and mixed with thyme and garlic for a low-carb diet alternative to standard bread style crusts . Add a variety of veggies to make this quiche your own.
Grilled Market Salad Chick
“Chick-fil-A’s Grilled Market Salad is loaded with nutrient rich ingredients including grilled chicken breast served on a fresh bed of mixed greens, topped with crumbled blue cheese and a mix of red and green apples, strawberries and blueberries,” said Richards. This salad has 330 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 29 grams of protein and is full of antioxidants from the apples, strawberries, and blueberries. “These are low-sugar fruits that are rich in nutrients but low in sugars. The grilled chicken breast and blue cheese are good, healthy sources of protein,” said Richards. What Richards really likes about this salad is the dressing it comes with. “A Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, which is a reasonably healthy option despite containing added sugar and orange juice concentrate.. Ask for the dressing on the side to control your calorie intake,” said Richards.
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Popeyes Blackened Chicken Tenders
Popeyes is home to some of the best friend chicken, so what is it doing on a list of low carb fast food? Fortunately for keto and low carb eaters, their Blackened Chicken Tenders fit the bill with flying colors. Three beautifully-grilled tenders are just 2 grams carbs. While they are plenty flavorful on their own, you can give them an extra kick by drizzling them in Popeyes classic hot sauce.
One complaint weve recieved is that youll still be hungry after munching on these chicken strips, so if you want to be certain youll fill up, add a side of green beans to your order.
Nutrition: Calories: 170, Fat: 2g, Carbs: 2g, Protein: 26g
Taco Bell’s Power Chicken Bowl
“Fast Food can sometimes be the only option. If you’re going to do it do it right,” says Katie Boyd . She’s partial to Taco Bell’s Power Chicken or Power Steak Bowls, prepared with “no rice and no beans.” She’s also fond of the Fiesta Taco Salad sans tortilla strips.
“Fried chicken at KFC or Popeyes can pack a hard core punch of glutinous carbs and vegetable oils both causing inflammation in the body. Your best low carb options at these places are the grilled chicken and green beans and cole slaw which is about 15 grams of carbs,” says Boyd. A 5-piece order of Popeyes’ blackened chicken tenders has just 3 g of carbs.
When it comes to eating low carb, Cimring likes Burger King’s Chicken Garden Salad Ken’s Ranch dressing. She’s also a fan of the chain’s burgers and Whoppers, as well as the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, so long as they are all served without a bun. “The bottom line is, there are truly tasty and healthy low-carb options out there in the fast-food industry,” she said.
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Panera Bread Power Breakfast Bowl
Panera Bread is a café-style restaurant featuring sandwiches, pastries, soups, salads, and coffee.
Most of the breakfast items are high in carbs. However, two selections from their menu work well for a low-carb morning meal.
The Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak features steak, tomatoes, avocado, and 2 eggs. It provides 5 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein.
The Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Turkey contains egg whites, spinach, bell peppers, and basil for 7 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein.
Starting the day with a high-protein breakfast promotes feelings of fullness and decreases appetite by reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin .
SUMMARY Select an egg-based breakfast with meat and vegetables at Panera Bread to keep carb intake low and control hunger levels.
Egg Based Keto Breakfasts
Eggs are a popular go-to keto breakfast option because they are versatile, easy to prepare and provide up to 6g of protein each. But if youre short on time, you may not always have the chance to whip up a batch of your favorite deviled eggs or breakfast bacon egg muffins. These low carb egg breakfast options are worthy replacements!
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Wendy’s: Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad
If I were to mix all of my favorite ingredients into one salad, I would have created Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad. Yes, there’s avocado, but there’s also bacon, grilled chicken, and a kickin’ Southwest Ranch. After you finish this salad, you’ll feel full and probably like going back for more the next day.
Keto Big Mac In A Bowl
A Big Mac sandwich contains about 44 grams of carbohydrates.
While I have to admit that there is just something SO satisfying about that famous fast food treat, the Big Mac is a big no-no on the keto diet.
I dont know if youve seen them, but Ive noticed some social media posts showing how to make McDonalds keto. Except the advice is always the same: skip the bun.
Leaving off the bun is a no-brainer when you want to avoid carbs, but thats not a very satisfying way to eat! Thats why Im so excited to share this recipe to show you how to make a Big Mac salad keto!
Its basically all the good stuff from a Big Macin a big bowl of deliciousness!
I promise you wont miss the bun!!
Related: For another low carb version of a fast food classic, try our Keto Copycat KFC Chicken Tenders!
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Best Low Carb Fast Food Options
The fast food industry is not catered to the low carb diet, but weve figured out plenty of ways around that to share with you.
Low carb fast food at Taco Bell? You bet. Historically, Taco Bell has been a go-to for late-night snackers, but theyve recently upped their health food game with the release of the Power Menu. Targeting healthy fast food, the Power Menu contains high protein meals that can be customized to fit any diet. So for the sake of low carb eaters, its a perfect option. For just 9g carbs, you can enjoy a Power Menu Steak Bowl, sans the rice and beans, of course. Youll still fill up on the steak, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and lettuce. Top it off with some reduced-fat sour cream and avocado ranch sauce.
Nutrition: Calories: 260, Fat: 16g, Carbs: 9g, Protein: 20g
Chick-Fil-A may be famous for their fried chicken options, but theyve got the perfect low carb, high protein alternative. The Grilled Nuggets taste nearly as delicious and are made with the same tender white meat as the original ones. They have a smokey flavor that pairs nicely with any of their low carb sauces, which include Zesty Buffalo Sauce , Garlic & Herb Ranch Sauce , Garlic & Herb Ranch Dressing , Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing , Creamy Salsa , Light Italian Dressing , and Jalapeño Salsa . If youre worried the nuggets wont fill you up, add a side salad to your order for just 6g carbs.
Why Would You Eat Low
While low-carb diets are all the rage, you might not actually know why they are so popular. They clearly have proven links to weight loss, but are there any other benefits that have been linked with eating a low-carb diet? Lets take a look.
Well, in fact, there are. A lot of these benefits are linked with losing weight, but they make losing weight using a low-carb diet special. For example, following a low-carb diet to lose weight has been linked with losing more weight around the stomach area, which is one of the main areas where people try to shift weight. Likewise, a low-carb diet has been linked with losing weight quickly, so, if you want to lose weight for a specific event, a low-carb diet could be the best choice.
A low-carb diet is also able to help you lose weight because it suppresses your appetite. Unlike other diets, a low-carb diet will usually make you feel full, and this will lead to you eating less. So this diet works in lots of different ways. But ultimately, it can make you lose weight, and help improve your health.
If you are eating out, then ordering a low-carb meal isnt always that easy. With that in mind, lets take a look at some of the best low-carb options to order from various different fast-food restaurants.
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Savannah Chopped Salad Mcalisters Deli
The Savannah Chopped Salad is made up of grilled chicken, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola, honey roasted almonds, tomato and cucumber on mixed greens with a sherry shallot dressing. It has 480 calories, 16 grams fat, and 40 grams of protein. ” At just 480 calories this restaurant salad at McAlister’s Deli makes an excellent meal,” said Richards. “They use grilled chicken over fried, which cuts down on fat and calories and provides a lean source of animal protein. The remaining ingredients are quite simple, but filled with beneficial nutrients like calcium, protein, healthy fats, and even antioxidants.”
This article was updated on July 13, 2021 with updated options from fast-food eateries.
Arbys Sandwich Without The Bun Or Bread
Arbys is one of the largest fast-food sandwich chains in the United States.
Though the Roast Beef Classic is its original and most popular item, Arbys has many other options, including brisket, steak, ham, chicken, and turkey.
Any of these can be ordered without the bread for a tasty low-carb, high-protein meal.
The company website provides a nutrition calculator, so you can customize your order to keep carbs within your target range.
For example, you can select Smokehouse Brisket with Gouda cheese, sauce, and a side salad for 5 grams of digestible carbs and 32 grams of protein.
SUMMARY Use Arbys nutrition calculator to construct a high-protein meal within your target carb range.
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Spicy Asian Chicken Salad
Taking just five minutes to prepare, this spicy salad is free of gluten, dairy and sugar and carbs. Shredded rotisserie chicken and prepared salad mixes combine with Asian style seasonings including soy sauce and ginger for a quick low-carb fast food meal that gets a little kick from a bit of jalapeno. The entire dish can be tossed together in a plastic freezer bag to mix ingredients before serving this salad one of the healthiest low-carb fast food ideas around!
Chipotle Salad Or Bowl
Chipotle is a Mexican fast-food restaurant that has become extremely popular.
Many people consider it healthier than other chains, as it uses high-quality ingredients and emphasizes animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.
Chipotle also makes it very easy to create low-carb meals.
A salad with meat or chicken, grilled vegetables, and guacamole contains 14 grams of total carbs, 8 of which are fiber.
This meal also provides about 30 grams of high-quality protein.
A high protein and fiber intake can increase your production of the gut hormones peptide YY and cholecystokinin , which tell your brain youre full and help prevent overeating .
Though vinaigrette is available, generous servings of guacamole and salsa make salad dressing unnecessary.
Additionally, Chipotle has a helpful online nutrition calculator that allows you to see the exact carb content of your meal.
SUMMARY Select a salad with meat, vegetables, salsa, and guacamole for a satisfying meal with 6 grams of digestible carbs.
Also Check: Chick Fil A Salad Nutrition
Panera Bread Power Breakfast Bowl With Turkey
Its true Panera is the land of bread. And while theres nothing quite like indulging in a chicken-noodle-soup-soaked French Baguette, thats not exactly diet-friendly. However, we have another low carb fast food breakfast option for you to try the Power Breakfast Bowl with Turkey. This filling, healthy breakfast contains egg whites, spinach, peppers, basil pesto, and either turkey or steak. Any of Paneras breakfast sandwiches can also be made low carb by ditching the bagel or English muffin. Keep in mind, Panera stops serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m. at most locations.
Nutrition: Calories: 180, Fat: 15g, Carbs: 7g, Protein: 25g