on August 08, 2019
One of the biggest misconceptions about the keto diet is that you have to give up your favorite foods. Sure, your options will change a bit as you work to limit your carb intake and keep your body in ketosis, but you don’t have to completely forsake the restaurants you love, even those of the fast food variety.
We’ve already proven that some of the best drive-through and takeout spots are still on the table with our guides to keto-friendly eating at Taco Bell, Chipotle and Chinese restaurants. In this post, we’ll turn our attention to the king--Burger King, that is--and show you the best ways to eat keto at the home of the Whopper.
All nutrition facts cited in this article are sourced directly from Burger King’s website.
Well, for starters, burgers are a staple at this fast food giant, with more than 15 different beef-based options on the menu. Beef gets two thumbs up on the keto diet for being a good source of both protein and fat, so you’ve got a solid base of choices right out of the gate.
Burger King also has a wealth of keto-friendly burger toppings, from juicy bacon to melty American cheese and loads of fresh veggies, plus chicken options (more on this below), salads and a full breakfast menu. At 6 net carbs, the newly-added Impossible burger is an interesting option to try as well.
By getting a little creative with your order and opting to skip out on the carb-heavy sides and toppings, keto followers actually have quite a few diet-friendly meals to choose from at Burger King.
To keep your carbs in check when pulling through the Burger King drive-thru, follow these tips.
What’s the easiest way to eat keto at Burger King? Go bunless. The bun alone adds between 40 and 50 grams of carbs to any BK meal, but if you get rid of it, it’s easy to keep your sandwich’s net carb count well under 5 grams.
You can go totally bunless and still enjoy the flame-grilled goodness of a burger or a juicy grilled chicken filet. Or, turn any sandwich into a lettuce wrap. While the Burger King menu doesn’t officially offer a lettuce wrap item, you can ask for extra lettuce and easily make your own. The staff typically serves bunless sandwiches in a convenient plastic container for easy on-the-go eating.
One pitfall of eating keto at Burger King is that there are a few carb-loaded landmines lurking on the menu.
Specifically, you’ll want to avoid most of the ‘crispy’ chicken items, since the breading on them completely kills any keto value. The chicken patty in the Crispy Chicken Club sandwich, for example, has 16 grams of carbs, while the one in the Spicy Crispy Chicken sandwich has 18.
Depending on your specific macros and what else is in your diet for the day, the one crispy chicken sandwich you might be able to get away with is the Original Chicken, which contains a borderline 9 grams of carbs.
Also, choose your sauces and salad dressings wisely. Some of them are packed with hidden sugar. The ‘Stacker sauce’ used in all of the Stacker sandwiches contains 4 grams of carbs per serving. A single packet of barbecue dipping sauce clocks in at 11 grams of carbs.
Perhaps the most surprising offender of all is the Lite Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing. A single packet of it has a grand total of 14 grams of carbs! Ranch dressing, ranch dipping sauce, buffalo dipping sauce, mustard, and mayonnaise are much better keto topping choices.
If you’re keeping a very close eye on your carb count, you can also ask for no tomatoes on any of the menu items that contain them to save another 1 gram of carbs.
Mornings can be one of the most hectic times of the day, so you’ll be glad to know that Burger King’s breakfast menu has a lot of great keto options for those days when preparing a homemade breakfast is out of the question.
If you’re hungry, try a Double Croissan’wich (minus the croissant) with sausage, bacon, eggs, and cheese. This hearty morning meal will set you back just 2 grams of carbs. A biscuitless Ham, Egg and Cheese Biscuit is another great option with a single gram of carbs.
As long as you’re leaving out the bun and staying away from the obvious carb-based items like pancakes, hash browns, and french toast sticks, you’re pretty safe on the Burger King breakfast menu. You can also order any of the ingredients (sausage patties, bacon, eggs, and so on) a la carte.
As for sauces, avoid the sugary syrup at all costs and instead opt for mayo or a small amount of ketchup.
By default, Burger King’s combo meals come with either fries or onion rings, both of which are off-limits for keto dieters (more on onion rings below).
However, with a little customization, you can still fill up without spending a fortune. Compared to other fast food chains, Burger King is especially great about letting you customize your order (their slogan is “have it your way,” after all).
Instead of ordering off the standard combo menu, try these keto-approved meals.
Two beef patties, gooey cheese and a healthy serving of bacon--what’s not to love? With 720 calories and just 3 grams of carbs, this custom sandwich order will fill you up without coming anywhere close to kicking you out of ketosis.
Even if you can’t resist the signature Stacker sauce, it’s not the worst thing in the world at 4 grams of carbs, but it can just as easily be replaced with mustard or mayo for a significantly lower carb count.
Burger King’s salads are some of the best in the fast food game, with crispy lettuce and generous servings of fresh-tasting toppings. This protein-rich combination totals out at 4 grams of carbs. Add a packet of ranch dressing for an additional 2 grams of carbs or Italian dressing for 4 grams.
Alternately, you can order the Chicken Club Salad with grilled instead of crispy chicken. Be sure to ask for no croutons.
With thin-sliced Black Forest ham, thick-cut bacon, sausage, fluffy eggs, and American cheese, you won’t even miss the biscuit. This breakfast option will yield you 24 grams of protein and 29 grams of fat. And with just 3 grams of carbs, you can easily double up this order and keep your carb count in control.
You already know the obvious no-no’s, like french fries. Even the ‘small’ size of fries packs a whopping 44 grams of carbs. But there are some other carb-loaded booby traps hiding on the BK menu you’ll want to be aware of before you order.
Protein-filled chicken usually gets a green light on the keto diet, but the breading is the downfall in these crispy fried nuggets. A single Burger King nugget contains almost 3 grams of carbs, so you can imagine how quickly the carbs add up when you order the 10 or 20-piece option.
Instead, stick to the grilled options like the grilled chicken filet with no bun. With the lettuce and tomato toppings, you’ll land right around 1 carb.
Onions on their own are pretty keto-friendly. You can enjoy them raw in salads, sauteed as a side to your steak, and more. But when you deep fry them and serve them as a fast food side, they quickly lose their low-carb appeal.
Again, the devil is in the breading. A small size serving of onion rings contains 41 grams of carbs, so put these on your do-not-order list.
There are a lot of things to love about Burger King’s breakfast menu. Unfortunately, the Egg-Normous Breakfast Burrito isn’t one of them. The tortilla alone will cost you 49 grams of carbs, enough to quickly shoot you out of ketosis.
You’re much better off sticking to one of the bunless breakfast options mentioned above or ordering an assortment of keto-friendly breakfast sides.
The most dangerous part of the entire Burger King menu for keto followers might just be the drink section. Pretty much all of the restaurant’s specialty drinks like the Frozen Coke (35 grams of carbs) and the Oreo Shake (118 grams of carbs) are way outside of the keto-friendly zone.
Stick with the basics like diet coke, unsweet tea, or water. If you’re craving something a little more indulgent, you might spring for a 16 or 20-ounce size of Minute Maid light lemonade, which contains 3 and 4 grams of carbs, respectively.
With some pre-planning and creative ordering, it’s easy to enjoy Burger King without sending your keto diet crashing.
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