Keto Menu Options
At Chain & Fast Food Restaurants
When you are following a strict diet or eating pattern like the keto diet, the common belief is that you just can’t eat out. You might even feel like have to make all your meals at home to make sure you aren’t eating anything you shouldn’t.
You would think it would be easy to find foods that have no processed foods or carb-loaded ingredients but these are some of the most commonly-used ingredients in the restaurant industry.
Unfortunately, the idea of not being able to eat out could be a big problem for your social life. If you’re not a big fan of cooking, it also isn’t good news for your stomach.
Luckily for you, the reality is that you CAN eat out!
There are several options at fast food and chain restaurants that do fit within the keto diet, it’s just a matter of finding them!
Our website makes that easier for you. Most restaurant menus contain a ton of options that are not approved for the keto diet, so you spend more time scanning the menu and eliminating choices rather than deciding between the options you can actually eat.
At Dietmenus we remove the fluff and provide menus for all your favorite restaurants with ONLY the keto friendly options.
While we provide menus for most major restaurants, this article will review general guidelines for each cuisine type in case we dont have a restaurant covered yet.
These are a few key rules you can follow to skim the menu and identify keto-friendly options.
1. If the menu has a legend, see if there are any low-carb options. While low-carb isn’t necessarily keto, it may offer a good place to start.
2. Identify foods that have grains, bread, legumes, and starchy vegetables mixed into the main dish. These often include pastas, risottos, medleys, thick and even meatballs and some patties (since they use bread to make the ground meat stick together). If there are no substation options, eliminate this from the potential keto-friendly dishes.
3. Find protein-based foods that offer sides to choose from. For example, you can get the grilled chicken with a side salad (no dressing), and steamed broccoli with olive oil.
4. Find foods where you can easily separate the carb-loaded bits from the rest. For example, you can have a 100% beef patty, and ask for lettuce buns instead of bread buns, and request that they hold the sauces. Even if they don’t offer the option of lettuce buns, you can take them off and set them aside.
5. Always ask for the sauces on the side, or to hold the sauces all together.
6. Don’t look at the desert menu. These are likely chock-full of refined sugar. Even the “light menu” options, like fruit bowls and “light” puddings, are very often not keto friendly
Note that some keto philosophies also cut out dairy. In our menus, we haven’t cut out dairy because it does offer a great source of healthy fat for your keto diet. But if you are staying dairy free as well, double check for any cream, milk, cheese, or yogurt ingredients on menus as well.
If you know you are going out to eat, there are a couple of things you can do to alleviate your worries and be confident that there will be food that you can enjoy.
In addition to the menus we provide for you, if you still have doubts about a certain item, you can also call the restaurant but remember that they won’t likely know what you mean if you simply ask if they have keto options. Instead, you can ask them they offer low-carb options or, if you have an option picked out, you can ask if it has bread, grains, or sugar in the ingredients.
To give you a head start, here we have provided you with some general guidelines, tips and tricks for ordering at some of the most common fast food and chain restaurant types.
Click on the different categories to your left or scroll down to browse and click on the restaurant logos to see the keto-friendly options at that restaurant.
Eating Keto at American-style restaurants is easy when you stay away from the fried options and heavy sauces!
American cuisine is the result of a melting pot of hundreds of cuisines that originated around the world, so the other guidelines below may help you as well.
Over the past century or so, American cuisine has become the epitome of refined carbs and processed ingredients – two of the biggest no-no’s on the DO NOT EAT list for the ketogenic diet.
American-style restaurants and the like offer a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, and pork. Choose options that aren’t slathered in sauces, since sauces tend to be very high in refined sugar. Instead, choose grilled and broiled options with tasteful spices for a blast of flavor without all of the unneeded carbs.
In general, avoid fried options, since they are usually covered in a batter
As for sides, choose side salads (no dressing, please! You can add olive oil and vinegar instead) and steamed veggies.
Of course, avoid high-carb side-dishes like bread and rice. Also stay away from corn and potatoes, which are starchy veggies. These are popular sides at American-style restaurants that the keto clan needs to avoid.
The big advantage of American cuisine for people who follow the keto diet is that the cuts of meat and the way to prepare them are very flavorful – and famous worldwide. If possible, choose grass-fed and organic meats over conventionally-produced meat.
Asian cuisine includes Chinese, Thai, Mongolian, Japanese Cantonese and Korean food. Of course, there are many differences between these cuisines, but many have similar ingredients and bases to the cuisine – namely rice and noodles.
As you know, we want to stay away from high-carb rice and noodles. Depending on the keto regime you are following, you may be able to eat soybeans and tofu. In general, you might want to choose chicken, beef, or fish as the main component of your dish.
Some of the best keto-friendly options include clear, thin soups, like egg-drop soup, steamed foods, like fish and vegetables, and stir-fried foods made with oil, and little to no sauce. You may have to ask if they add starch or sugar to their stir-fry sauces before ordering.
For an easier and friendlier option for the keto clan, you can go to a Mongolian restaurant. Here, you can choose your own meats, veggies, and flavors and sauces that will be cooked together on the grill. Avoid the wines and the richer, thicker sauces, since these usually have loads of sugar and wheat- or corn-based thickeners, and go for the chili, lime, and vinegar sauces instead.
Keto-friendly burger options are pretty straight-forward. Since most burger places have a pretty reduced menu, you are usually going to have to choose a burger based on the ingredients that go inside the bun. Ask them if they can serve the burger in-between two lettuce leaves, rather than burger buns.
Remember to avoid burger options that have sweet sauces, or that have fried toppings.
We recommend you ask the server if the patty meat has bread. Sometimes restaurants will add bread to the meat to keep the patty from falling apart. If all of the patties have a bread filler, then skim the menu for grilled chicken burgers or steak sandwiches instead.
As for sides, avoid fries – both regular and sweet potato. You might want to ask for a few extra pickles, a side salad, or other low-carb options instead. Remember that even seemingly low-carb options like fried zucchini is usually breaded, so if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask!
As you know, there is a huge variety of fast food options. In general, most fast food restaurants are out there to be healthy, per-se, but rather to offer filling, tasteful options for people on the go. Often, that includes a lot of carb-loaded and sauce-filled foods which we stay away from when following a keto diet.
In general, fast food options that offer salads and bowls are good standard choices. For example, some burrito and sub restaurants will offer you the option of having the burrito as a bowl, instead of in the tortilla or bread. Fast food places that allow you to choose your ingredients are the best, so you can select protein, veggie, and healthy fat options.
You want to stay away from fountain drinks and ask for water instead. Ask them to switch your fries for a side salad and hold off on the heavy sauces that usually contain sugar and are thickened with flours or starches.
If you know what type of fast food restaurant you are going to, like a pizza or burger fast food joint, you can scroll to that section in this guide for more specific suggestions.
Italian food is most famous for their pastas, gnoccis, garlic bread and pizzas, all of which are choc full of carbs. However, pasta and pizza is only a small slice of Italian cuisine. There are dozens of tasty keto-friendly Italian food options.
Italian cuisine is known for having fresh, top-quality produce and meats to allow their world-famous seasoning to shine. Also, freely use the heart-healthy olive oil you’ll find on every table.
Some of the most delicious options are the meat and veggie appetizers. For example, you can choose dishes like Carpaccio, which is thinly sliced beef or fish served with lime or olive oil, and a few veggies, or Gamberoni (shrimp), steamed clams or mussels.
Italian soups are also a delicious option, but stick to the thinner choices, since the thicker soups usually have starch added.
For the main dish, choose meat, fish, and chicken options with sides of vegetables. If you are thinking about a choice with tomato sauce, ask if the sauce is freshly made. Canned or bottled tomato sauces usually have loads of sugar, while homemade sauces have little to none.
Mexican food is much more than tacos, tamales, and burritos. There are plenty of delicious Mexican and Latin American cuisine options that don’t contain tortillas. While corn (maize) is the base of the Mexican diet, their carefully-seasoned vegetables and meats are usually the most important part of the meal in local cuisine.
When you get the guacamole and salsa at the beginning of the meal, ask for jicama or cucumber slices to enjoy the appetizer.
Some great low carb meal options include meatball soup (sopa de albóndigas), ceviche, grilled meats, chilli verde (a spicy pork stew) and fajita filling. If they serve your meal with tortillas or chips, simply set it aside or ask them to switch it out for a veggie side.
Pizza is one of the trickiest cuisines for the keto clan. Almost all options in a pizza restaurant will use, well, pizza crust as the base of almost all options on the menu. Plus, if you are following strict keto, you also stay away from processed meats like pepperoni and ham. From this point of view, all that is left are veggie toppings and freshly-made tomato sauce.
In some of the more upscale pizza restaurants, they may offer cauliflower crust as an option – which means you could choose any of the options.
If the menu offers wings, you can choose naked wings, Cajun spiced wings, or garlic parmesan wings. Avoid those that are slathered in BBQ sauce and definitely don’t dip them in ranch sauce.
If your choices are very limited, you might have to stick to side salad and water. However, you’ll have wider options if you go to chain pizza restaurants, or even more if you go to an upscale pizza restaurant that thinks out of the box in terms of menu options.
At most sandwich and deli options, you can ask for any of the menu options “naked”, or with only the filling. This might get some looks by the servers, so you can ask them if they offer any of their sandwiches as bowls.
If you have the option of eating your “sandwich” as a salad, you’re safe. Just remember to ask them for oil-based dressings, since creamier and fruit-based dressings usually have a lot of sugar. If you are unsure, just ask for olive oil.
Your best options might be those restaurants which allow you to pick your ingredients. Ask them to serve the ingredients in a bowl or between two lettuce leaves, instead of a in a bun, and add away.
Many delis also offer delicious soup options, so ask if they have any vegetable or meat broths on the menu. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can get with a “sandwich”.
Most of the main dishes at seafood restaurants are keto-friendly (and delicious!) so you won’t feel like you are missing anything. Feel free to choose almost anything on the seafood menu, as long as its not breaded, or fried.
Stay away from the pasta options and choose vegetable sides instead of rice and potatoes.
Many seafood places have tempting buns on the table at the beginning of the meal. If you are a fan of appetizers, choose grilled shrimp or veggie options with vegetable-based dips, rather than coconut shrimp, or tempura choices.
Steakhouses offer a wide variety of options for people following a keto diet. The sides are often the only element in most main dishes you need to worry about. Since most of their main dishes are focused on the variety of beef or chicken options, they will allow you to choose your sides.
Most steakhouses have tempting variety of non-carb side options, like vegetable medleys, spiced and grilled veggies, and steamed eggplant.
Of course, the focus of steakhouses is the steak! Here, you can go wild. Choose the cut and cook level of your choice. If possible, choose grass-fed beef as opposed to commercially-produced beef.
Also, feel free to browse the pork, chicken, and fish options if you feel like sticking to white meat options.