on October 17, 2019
When it comes to fast food chains, Wendy’s is one of the best in terms of quality. The restaurant was recently voted America’s favorite fast food spot in a poll of more than 200,000 people.
It turns out that the home of the famous square patty is also a great dining establishment for keto dieters. With more than 15 beef options and ample chicken, breakfast and side items to choose from, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to keep your ketosis. In this post, we’ll talk more about what makes Wendy’s an ideal keto fast food choice and share some of our favorite low carb selections on the menu.
Unless otherwise noted, all nutrition information is sourced directly from Wendy’s menu.
Some fast food restaurants make you wonder, ‘what am I really eating?’ We love Wendy’s because you never have to ask that question.
Since it opened in 1969, the restaurant has only used fresh beef that’s never been frozen in its hamburgers. The chain sources its meat from cattle ranches in North America, so it doesn’t have to cross oceans or continents to make it into your burger. You can taste the difference in its juicy, flavorful patties.
Wendy’s recognizes the growing consumer investment in sustainable food practices. The chain recently stepped up its commitment to provide a more transparent supply chain so customers know exactly where their food is coming from.
Wendy’s is an ally for its keto customers. It has several dedicated resources for keto and low-carb dieters with recommendations for what to eat and how to customize your order. For instance, the restaurant will gladly make any sandwich bunless and allows you to customize your toppings to suit your macro needs.
If you want to eat keto at Wendy’s, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Wendy’s recently upgraded to “premium buns,” which is great if you love artisanal bread but not so great if you’re trying to stay in ketosis. Just one of the premium buns is loaded with 33 grams of carbs. To easily make a burger or grilled chicken sandwich more keto friendly, ask to hold the bun. Your order will be served in a plastic container with a fork and knife for easy eating.
Wendy’s also allows you to make any wrap or sandwich a lettuce wrap. They’re unique from other fast food chains in that they’ll prepare the wrap for you (elsewhere you have to order a side of lettuce and piece your own wrap together). This is a great option for sandwiches like the Asiago Ranch Grilled Chicken Club, which contains just 3 grams of carbs when ordered as a lettuce wrap.
To help you hit your desired daily macros for protein and fat, add more meat to your order. Wendy’s lets you add additional beef patties or Applewood smoked bacon to any sandwich for a small upcharge.
More cheese, please! Wendy’s juicy burgers get even better when you add a couple additional slices of gooey American cheese.
When ordering sandwiches, be sure to ask for the condiments on the side, because they can add unwanted carbs. The smoky honey mustard sauce that comes on the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, for example, adds 3 grams of carbs.
In the process of researching Wendy’s keto options, we discovered a super useful tool for eating keto at Wendy’s: the restaurant’s mobile app. When you use the app as if you’re creating a mobile order, you can easily add and remove menu components and see exactly how they impact the macros of your meal. Super handy for keto hacking the menu!
With so many ways to customize your order, the keto options at Wendy’s are truly endless, but here are a few of our favorites.
This smoky, tangy burger is piled with a quarter pound patty, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, melted American cheese, lettuce, onion, and pickle. It’s all topped with the chain’s new spicy, creamy S’Awesome sauce. If you hold the bun, this sandwich--sauce included--contains just 6 grams of net carbs and 29 grams of protein. It’s a keto powerhouse.
Avocado lovers have to try this twist on the chicken BLT. It’s stacked with herb marinated grilled chicken breast, Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, muenster cheese, cool buttermilk ranch and creamy avocado. When you order it bunless and tomato free, it’ll set you back just 2 grams of net carbs while providing 40 grams of protein.
Fast food salads can be hit or miss, easily ruined by browned lettuce or soggy veggies. Wendy’s salads are made fresh daily, so the quality tends to be above par. This hearty salad is tossed with lettuce, pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, creamy avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, and grilled chicken breast. It’s all topped with zesty southwest ranch dressing. The half-size version of this salad, dressing included, contains 5 grams of net carbs and 22 grams of protein.
You can’t go wrong with the sandwich that put Wendy’s on the map. Dave’s single is your basic burger with a single patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo. Order it bunless and without ketchup for 24 grams of protein and 4 grams of net carbs.
Want something light to tide you over when you’re out running errands? Opt for the grilled chicken lettuce wrap. You’ll get a filling serving of 30 grams of protein and just 5 grams net carbs.
Aside from the obvious no-no’s like french fries and baked potatoes, here are some Wendy’s menu items you’ll want to stay away from to stay in ketosis.
While the chili is filled with protein, it also contain beans, which will take it out of the running for most keto followers. A small size of Wendy’s chili contains 19 grams of carbs.
The type of chicken you order at Wendy’s makes a major difference in its carb count. While the grilled chicken sandwich is a great keto option at 5 grams of total carbs with no bun, the homestyle chicken sandwich without a bun has a whopping 18 grams of total carbs. Grilled chicken is the kind you want to order.
The nuggets at Wendy’s are iffy for keto. If you’re hit with a chicken nugget craving, you could get away with enjoying the 4 piece crispy nuggets if you watch the rest of the day’s macros closely. The 4 piece crispy nugget contain 10 grams of carbs. Once you go beyond the 4 piece, though, you’re in the danger zone. The 6 piece nugget has 14 grams of carbs and the 10 piece has 24 grams.
Beware the Wendy’s cheddar cheese sauce, which is much different from sliced cheddar cheese when it comes to nutrition value. The cheddar cheese sauce, which is a gooey sauce drizzled on many of the beef sandwich options, adds 4 grams of carbs to the meal. A much better option is a slice of cheddar cheese or American cheese, which contain 0 grams of carbs and 1 gram of carbs respectively.
Regular coffee is a-okay on the keto diet, but Wendy’s drink list has some pitfalls in the form of tempting coffee drinks. The small vanilla frosty-chino, for example, is loaded with 28 grams of sugar and 35 grams of carbs. Your best bet is to stick to regular coffee, which has no carbs, or cold brew, which has 3 grams of carbs in a small size.
If you’re really hungry, this perfect Wendy’s keto order will fill you up and leave you with plenty of wiggle room for the rest of the day’s macros.
First, warm up with a side caesar salad. When you ditch the croutons, you’ve got a hearty appetizer with 5 grams of net carbs, which includes tomatoes and Caesar dressing. You can forego the tomatoes to cut down about 1 additional gram of carbs.
Then order the Baconator, which is made with a half-pound of fresh beef, American cheese, 6 pieces of bacon and mayo. It’s a meat lover’s dream and when you order it with no bun and no ketchup, it contains 53 grams of protein and just 5 grams of net carbs. If you want to further reduce the carb count, switch to cheddar cheese or opt for no cheese entirely.
This is plenty of food to fill you up in a hurry without putting your ketosis in danger. Enjoy!
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