Eating Fast Food on a Low-Carb Diet

With the way we are always on the go in our society these days, eating at home for every meal is getting harder and harder.

Eating Fast Food on a Low-Carb Diet
Photo by Daniel Mathew / Unsplash

With the way we are always on the go in our society these days, eating at home for every meal is getting harder and harder. It used to be common to cook breakfast in the morning and have a nice, healthy meal before going off to work or school for the day. Then for lunch we would pack a healthy lunch that we would take with us and eat during our lunch break. And in the evening we'd have a lovely dinner prepared at home that was full of healthy ingredients. But is that the norm for the majority today? Probably not.

Enter fast food.

Fast food gets a bad rap - and honestly rightly so for many reasons - but sometimes we need something that we can grab on the go and fast food is what's handy and convenient. James and I try our best to cook as many of our own meals as possible but sometimes we aren't able to do that and we do occasionally stop for fast food. There are definitely ways that you can make choices that are at least a little healthier than the standard choices available.

One of the easiest ways to do your best to stay low carb at a fast food place is to order a burger and either ask for no bun or just toss the bun aside when you get it. I usually let them give it to me on a bun because it's easier to hold - especially when you're in the car and on the go - and I just tear away the bread as I eat my way through the burger and only eat the meat and veggies. Of course the fries are a no go so don't get the combo - just the burger. ;)

Another favorite of mine is to get Mexican food, or Tex-Mex as it were, and order a taco salad. Sometimes it comes in a taco shell and I just eat the salad and leave the shell but sometimes it's literally just a salad with all the taco toppings and it's perfect for low carb. You can also find places that offer meals in a bowl that would normally come in a tortilla or on bread. We recently went to a Mexican place and ordered a burrito and asked for a bowl on the side and we just opened the tortilla and dumped the contents into the bowl and ate it that way. Some sandwich places are even offering a sandwich in a bowl now or you can get it wrapped in lettuce rather than on bread. There are also a variety of places that offer decent salads that will be low carb - just make sure to leave out the croutons and crackers. ;)

Making choices at fast food places like this is something James and I have been doing for several years but I recently discovered a book series written by Stephanie and William Laska called Dirty, Lazy, Keto and they offer a lot of helpful resources in this area. They have several books with recipes and information about how to eat a keto diet without being super strict about processed foods and also without having to worry about counting all the macros. One of the books is a fast food guide and she's put in a lot of work to compile a list of meals that you can eat at a variety of different restaurants for 10g of carbs or less. It's a very handy book to have if you're on the go and wanting to stop somewhere and grab something but you want to stay low carb. She offers menu options for quite a few popular places like McDonald's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Burger King, Subway, Chick-fil-A, and even pizza places!  

If you need help making choices when you stop at a fast food place or you want suggestions on places to go, this book would be a great one to keep handy. It's even on kindle unlimited. I have it downloaded to my kindle app so I can easily pull it up on my phone and make a choice from the suggested list of low carb menu options as we pull into a fast food place. She has the chapters separated by types of food like burgers, chicken, pizza, etc. and then there is a section within each chapter for specific restaurants. It's very easy to navigate right to the page you want by looking at the table of contents.

One side note to eating fast food - there are a lot of things I've shared in my writings here that would teach against this kind of eating and I still agree that NOT eating fast food is better than eating it... BUT... I know it's not practical to think we can all eat 100% clean all the time with only whole food that's made with grass-fed, unprocessed, or organic ingredients. For me personally, that's the goal I strive for but I don't beat myself up if I need to eat "dirty keto" and eat some processed food. And you shouldn't beat yourself up over it either or feel like you're failing and you can't do this keto thing if you don't stay strict, clean keto. This is a lifestyle - it's not about being perfect at every meal or with every morsel that goes into your mouth. If you're doing your best to live an overall healthy lifestyle with good choices for your meals, eating something like this isn't going to be the end of the road for your keto journey. :)

So if you're out and about and you need to grab something to eat, you CAN stay true to your low carb plan and make choices that can keep you on the right track. And even if you happen to slip up and have a few fries every now and again, you'll survive. ;) Just get back to your keto lifestyle at your next meal. <3