Guide to Eating at Buffalo Wild Wings on Keto

Guide to Eating at Buffalo Wild Wings on Keto
Daniel Thompson

on October 11, 2019

What sports fan doesn’t love kicking back and watching their favorite team in action with some delicious wings? Football + wings + beer are pretty much a match made in heaven. If you’re on the keto diet, though, you might not be so quick to indulge because you don’t want to get kicked out of ketosis.  

We’re here to help, because there are actually many keto-friendly options on the menu at one of the most popular sports bars: Buffalo Wild Wings. There are more than 1,200 Buffalo Wild Wings locations around the country and in all 50 states, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one nearby.  

Here’s what to know if you want to maintain ketosis but still enjoy rooting on your team with some great game day food. All nutrition information in this article was sourced from Buffalo Wild Wings’ nutrition guide, which you can access here

Why Buffalo Wild Wings?

To put it plainly: chicken wings. Poultry is naturally free of carbs, and Buffalo Wild Wings does a great job offering plenty of variety with more than 15 different options for sauces and seasonings to choose from. 

Unlike many other sports bars, they keep it simple with their traditional bone-in wings, not adding any of the breading that’s problematic for keto dieters. 

Chicken wings are a hearty source of both fat and protein, which are essential dietary components for keto followers.  

Tips for Eating Keto at Buffalo Wild Wings

To stay in ketosis while eating at Buffalo Wild Wings, follow these guidelines. 

When In Doubt, Stick To Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings does best with its namesake food. If you stick to traditional wings (the kind with the bone in), it’s hard to go wrong. 

Their wings comes in the following sizes: snack (5 wings), small (9 wings), medium (14 wings), and large (18 wings). A snack size contains 20 grams of fat and 44 grams of protein, while a large contains 73 grams of fat and 160 grams of protein. All of the wing sizes on their own contain zero net carbs. The sauce or seasoning you choose will determine the total carb count for your wing order. We’ll go into more detail about the carb counts for each of the flavoring options a little further down below. 

Steer Clear of Apps and Sides

While that plate of onion rings your buddy ordered may look tempting, resist the urge to indulge. An order of their beer battered onion rings contains a ketosis-busting 149 grams of carbs, so even having just one is a bad idea. 

You’ll want to avoid pretty much all of the apps on the menu, with the exception of the naked tenders that are one of the options that can be included with the All-Star Sampler. Those are a safe bet. 

The list of side options is also filled with potential landmines for keto dieters, with carb loaded items like mac and cheese and french fries. Even the cole slaw contains 14 grams of carbs. If you must have a side, opt for the side salad with ranch dressing and skip the garlic toast and croutons that come with it. Beware of the fat free ranch dressing, which contains 12 grams of carbs in a 2 ounce serving. 

Choose a Light Beer

If you’re sticking around for the whole game, chances are you’ll want to wash your wings down with an ice cold beer. Stick to a light beer like Miller Lite or Michelob Ultra, both of which contain 3 grams of carbs per bottle. Truly Spiked Seltzer is another refreshing keto-friendly beverage option with 2 grams of carbs per can. 

5 Best BWW Menu Items for Keto

1. Traditional Wings with Buffalo Sauce, Garlic Sauce or Dry Rub 

As we mentioned above, the traditional wings are your best friend when eating keto at Buffalo Wild Wings. You’ve got a decent selection of sauces and seasonings that are generally keto friendly to top them with. Here are the carb counts for the best sauces. All of these numbers reflect the serving with a small size of wings. 

  • Blazin’: 6 grams
  • Hot: 6 grams
  • Medium: 4
  • Mild: 4
  • Parmesan garlic: 6
  • Spicy garlic: 6
  • Wild: 6

The dry seasonings, which include buffalo, chipotle barbecue, desert heat, lemon pepper and salt and vinegar, are even better options at just 1 gram of carbs each. 

Avoid the asian zing, bourbon honey mustard, caribbean jerk, honey BBQ, mango habanero, sweet BBQ and teriyaki sauces, all of which contain enough carbs to put your ketosis at risk. 

2. Naked Tenders

If you prefer chicken tenders over wings, the naked tenders are another great Buffalo Wild Wings menu option for keto. A six piece of the naked tenders contains 0 grams of carbs, 65 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. 

3. Grilled Chicken Breast

In the mood for a knife-and-fork meal? The grilled chicken breast is a perfectly acceptable keto option, with 1 gram of carbs, 3 grams of fat and 28 grams of protein. We like to step it up a notch by asking to top it with bacon slices and a slice of melted cheddar cheese, neither of which will add to the carb count. 

4. Burger Patty

It’s not all about chicken at Buffalo Wild Wings; there are options for beef eaters as well. One of the easiest ways to make restaurant food more keto friendly is to nix the bun, and the burgers here are one such example. 

The all-beef hamburger patty is carb free while packing 30 grams of protein and 32 grams of fat. You can choose to top it with a variety of cheeses, including cheddar, swiss or pepper jack with 0 grams of carbs, blue cheese crumbles with 1 gram of carbs, or American cheese with 2 grams of carbs. Skip the ketchup and opt for yellow mustard as a condiment. 

5. Celery and Ranch Or Blue Cheese

The wings at Buffalo Wild Wings are served with celery and carrot sticks by default. Skip the carrots, which are higher in carbs, and ask for only celery, which has 2 grams of carbs per 5-stick serving. Enjoy them with ranch or blue cheese dressing, both of which contain 3 grams of carbs per serving. 

What to Avoid

Despite the amazing world of wings on the keto-approved list, there are some menu items at Buffalo Wild Wings you’ll want to avoid at all costs. 

1. Boneless Wings

Unlike the traditional wings, the boneless wings are a major carb trap. A snack size has a whopping 54 grams of carbs, which is more than the recommended carb intake for keto dieters for an entire day. You don’t even want to know how many carbs are in the large order of boneless wings (but if you do, we’ll tell you: 163 grams!). It’s the breading that throws these wings out of the running for keto dieters.  

As we mentioned, you’ll also want to shy away from the carrot sticks if you’re counting carbs closely. One order of 5 carrot sticks contains 5 grams of carbs, which isn’t terrible by any means, but you can trim your carb intake considerable by opting for celery sticks instead. 

2. Standard Salads

The salads at Buffalo Wild Wings are a slippery slope because of how the protein is prepared and what’s served with them. Every salad comes with an order of garlic toast, which is an obvious keto no-no, and most also have croutons, which are also full of carbs. The buffalo chicken salad contains that problematic breaded chicken that makes the wings off limits. The honey barbecue chicken uses grilled chicken, but the sweet dressing throws it out of whack with 29 grams of sugar and 34 total grams of carbs. 

If you really want to order a salad, you’ll need to customize it carefully, opting for no croutons, no garlic toast, grilled chicken and a keto-friendly dressing. The best dressing options are as follows. The carb counts listed are for a 2 ounce serving:

  • Blue cheese: 2 grams
  • Buffalo blue cheese: 3 grams
  • Cilantro lime ranch: 3 grams
  • Lemon vinaigrette: 3 grams
  • Ranch (full fat): 2 grams
  • Southwestern ranch: 2 grams

3. Cocktails

Buffalo Wild Wings has an array of colorful cocktail options to tempt you, many of which sound harmless enough (the cucumber cooler, for example). But don’t be fooled; nearly all of the cocktails contain more than 20 grams of carbs in a single drink. The exception is the B-Dubs bloody mary with 9 grams of carbs. 

If you’re craving a refreshing beverage that’s not beer, you might opt for a glass of pinot grigio, which has 4 grams of carbs. You can also make a tasty mocktail by adding a flavor shot to a glass of diet pepsi. Flavor shot selections include cherry, peach, raspberry and vanilla, all of which are carb and sugar free. 

For more ideas on how to eat keto at some of your favorite places, check out our guides to low-carb eating at Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle and Chinese restaurants

About Left Coast Performance

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