10 Keto Diet-Approved Menu Items at Favorite Restaurant Chains
It can be hard enough to pick a restaurant that makes everyone happy when dining out with a group, and having a specific diet you are trying to adhere to only makes that process more complicated.
With Google searches for the keto diet up over 300 percent in the past two years, the high-fat, low-carb diet seems to be one trend that is here to stay. If you know what to look for on a menu, though, finding keto diet restaurant menu items doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. From fast food to fine dining, there is something on this list that could work for every occasion.
“Preparing for a social gathering that revolves around eating can be hard,” said Gabrielle Mancella, a registered dietitian at Orlando Health. “Opt for something that is going to not only give you more bang for your buck as far as quality of ingredients goes, but one that contains macronutrients that are going to fuel you for long after you leave. The usual tricks and hacks still stand: dressing on the side, opt for no bread, or always opt for the side salad. The side salad option is always an easy way to get a simple trade-off and save calories on the empty munching after the main entrée. Skip the fries and add greens for more volume and less post-meal fatigue.”
In this breakdown, we look at each dish and how many total net carbs these keto diet restaurant menu items contain. This will help in determining how many net carbs you have left for your keto diet needs.
Now, here are 10 keto-friendly restaurant menu items if you’re looking for high-fat, low-carb options.
Chipotle: Carnitas Salad
6 net carbs
Mix-and-match-style restaurants like Chipotle are the gold-standard when it comes to dining out while keto. Why? Because you can pick what you want to go into your bowl and leave out anything too carb-y. To keep it keto, start out with a salad with no dressing. Forgo the rice, beans, and corn, and the rest is pretty much safe as long as you are watching your macros.
Before you go, head online to the Chipotle nutrition calculator to play around with your options and find the meal that will work best for you. While there are numerous keto diet restaurant menu items to decide from, an easy order includes salad (no dressing), carnitas, fresh tomato salsa, cheese, and guacamole. Never skimp on the guacamole; it is the perfect keto topping!
Chick-fil-A: Grilled Nuggets
2 net carbs
The 8-count chicken nuggets offering at Chick-fil-A is a great way to get your protein in when you are on the go without turning to carb-heavy options. Not to mention, they are absolutely delicious, too.
Just make sure you don’t spoil your good choice with a high-carb dipping sauce: Their famous Polynesian Sauce clocks in with 16 grams of net carbs! Instead, if you are looking for a sauce, go for the Zesty Buffalo, which will only add one gram of carbohydrates to your meal. If you are looking for a side, avoid the fries and opt for a side salad without the toppings.
Zoe’s Kitchen: Cauliflower Rice Bowl
9 net carbs
“Zoe’s Kitchen has a Greek bowl option that has a base of cauliflower and can be topped with fresh vegetables and greens,” Mancella says. “This keeps the carbohydrates down and still provides that twist on the traditional salad we always feel pressured into choosing.”
Who doesn’t love it when a restaurant has cauliflower rice on the menu? It would be great if that was more common across the industry. That’s just one of the many reasons we love Zoe’s Kitchen. Here, you won’t even miss the carbs because the food is so flavorful.
Blaze Pizza: Keto Pizza
2 net carbs per slice
Keto dieters around the world rejoiced when they heard there was finally going to be a mainstream pizza place that offered a keto-friendly crust. Blaze Pizza has delivered on its promise. Topped with spicy red sauce, two kinds of mozzarella, bacon, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, the fast-casual restaurant’s custom keto crust is the vehicle for a delicious pizza.
When ordering, don’t get confused by Blaze’s cauliflower crust offering, which is not keto-friendly and clocks in with nearly 10 times the carb count. Half of the keto pizza will cost you 6 net carbs, which means the whole pie is great for sharing or taking half home with you.
“When I am dining out, lately I have been trying to save half of my meal for a nice side dish at dinner,” Mancella says.
Jimmy John’s: Beach Club Unwich
7 net carbs
Skip the bread but none of the flavor by going for an Unwich. Wrapped in lettuce, this keto-approved sandwich is bursting with all of the ingredients that make keto indulgent—cheese, avocado, turkey, and mayo—but without getting it on bread.
If you are in the mood for something a little salty, try one of the famous Jimmy John’s pickles on the side. It will set you back one net carb, but help you get in those electrolytes needed for beating the keto flu.
RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.
Outback Steakhouse: Outback Center-Cut Sirloin (6 oz.) and Steamed Broccoli
9 net carbs
The 6 ounce Outback Center-Cut Sirloin is the perfect sized meal for a dinner that will leave you full, but not stuffed. Add some broccoli on the side, and you have a delicious, balanced dinner. At Outback Steakhouse, your keto-friendly options are abundant because meat is generally carb-free. However, at Outback, there are a few major pitfalls you are going to want to make sure you avoid or you will find yourself racking up the carbs: The famous Bloomin’ Onion, for example, clocks in at 123 grams of carbohydrates. That is nearly a week’s allowance for someone following the keto diet!
Wendy’s: Parmesan Chicken Caesar Salad
8 net carbs
When you think of healthy food, Wendy’s isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind, but the chain’s new Parmesan Caesar Chicken Salad is the perfect keto diet restaurant menu item when a drive-thru is your only option. Filled with grilled chicken, cheese, tomatoes, and crunchy Parmesan crisps, it is filling and delicious.
What is Wendy’s secret with this one, you ask? Well, it has forgone the traditional croutons in favor of the carb-friendly cheese crisp, adding flavor and reducing the overall net carbs in the dish drastically.
Red Robin: Sear-ious Salmon
6 net carbs
Sure, most people think of Red Robin for its burgers, but, let’s be honest, you can get a burger just about anywhere. What you can’t always find is some seriously good salmon at a good price.
Enter the Sear-ious Salmon. Accompanied by bottomless steamed broccoli, the seasonings on this salmon add flavor without clocking in high in carbs.
Domino’s: Hot Wings
7 net carbs
Ordering from a pizza place can feel daunting when you are trying to follow a keto diet, but it doesn’t have to be. Most chain pizza restaurants, like Domino’s, offer chicken wings that can fit nicely into your macros if you plan accordingly.
This way, you can still enjoy a night in with friends without feeling tempted by a pizza staring you in the face.
Jersey Mike’s: Jersey Shore’s Favorite Sub in a Tub
9 net carbs
Die-hard keto-ers know that Jersey Mike’s can be a haven for the low-carb adherent. Long before the keto diet saw the boom that it is currently experiencing, Jersey Mike’s began offering its famous sub in a tub. With this option, you can order any sandwich to be made as a salad instead of on bread.
There are lots of keto diet restaurant menu items you can pick from here, but a fan-favorite is always the Jersey Shore’s Favorite. Loaded with ham, cappacuolo, provolone, vinegar, and olive oil, this will make you feel like you are right at the Jersey Shore, complete with all of the fist-bumping and none of the unnecessary carbs.