If you’re on the keto train (like, pretty much every celeb), you might be curious if there’s a way you can follow the diet without cooking all your own food, all the time. The good news: It’s totally possible, and not just at traditionally “healthy” restaurants.
Yep, you can totally eat keto at fast-food staples like McDonald’s. You just have to know how to order properly. The menu actually has a few items that are keto without any modifications. In addition, there are plenty of meals you can order with a few tweaks to fit a keto diet.
Before diving into the best McDonald’s keto orders, here’s a quick primer on what following the keto diet actually looks like.
Keto is short for “ketogenic diet,” and this eating plan is all about minimizing your carbs and upping your fats to get your body to use fat as a form of energy, Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, previously told WH.
While everyone’s body and needs are slightly different, that typically translates to the following daily macro percentages:
- 60 to 75 percent of your calories from fat
- 15 to 30 percent of your calories from protein
- 5 to 10 percent of your calories from carbs
That usually means eating no more than 50 grams of carbs a day (some strict keto dieters even opt for just 20 grams a day). The state of using fat instead of carbs for fuel is known as ketosis. For many people, following a keto diet results in weight-loss success. But it’s not without its pitfalls—critics of the diet warn that it’s not sustainable, and there’s also the whole keto flu thing.
Still, if it works for you, power to ya. Here’s exactly how to order at McDonald’s to stay on track with your keto goals, straight from registered dietitian and WH advisor Amanda Baker Lemein.
1. Bacon ranch grilled chicken salad
“This is the healthiest option in my book,” says Baker Lemein. “The vegetable content provides added fiber—something many Americans, especially those on keto, are missing—and lean protein from grilled chicken. It’s low in saturated fat too.”
Nutrition info: 8 g carbs, 13 g fat, and 39 g protein
2. Side salad
Fine, the side salad at McDonald’s certainly isn’t a Big Mac. However, it’s a valuable option for keto dieters.
“I always recommend at least half your plate be filled with non-starchy veggies for lunch and dinner—keto or not. This will add nutrients and fiber to any meal with very few carbs for those following a keto diet,” says Baker Lemein.
Nutrition info: 3 g carbs, 0 g fat, and 1 g protein
3. Grilled chicken sandwich without the bun
“This is very low in saturated fat but still has 33 grams of protein, so it will be filling,” says Baker Lemein. “I recommend pairing this with the side salad to increase volume though, as few people would be satisfied with only a chicken breast.” Noted!
Nutrition info (sans bun): 1 g carbs, 2 g fat, and 33 g protein
4. Egg McMuffin without the English muffin
This is the best keto breakfast option on the menu. “The egg and Canadian bacon will provide plenty of protein, plus, Canadian bacon is lower in saturated fat than bacon or sausage,” says Baker Lemein.
Nutrition info (without the muffin): 3 g carbs, 11 g fat, and 12 g protein
5. Double cheeseburger without the bun
“A hamburger will be lower in saturated fat than breakfast sandwiches, but not as filling. A burger definitely fits the bill for keto though,” says Baker Lemein.
Nutrition info (sans bun): 4 g carbs, 20 g fat, and 20 g protein
6. Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, minus the biscuit
Without the bread on this breakfast sandwich, the bacon, egg, and cheese fits the bill for a keto morning meal. Plus, the eggs add important nutrients like choline and vitamin D, says Baker Lemein.
Nutrition info (no biscuit): 4 g carbs, 13 g fat, and 14 g protein
7. Pico guacamole chicken sandwich without the bun
This sandwich is loaded with healthy fats from avocado and nutrients from tomatoes and onions in the pico de gallo.
Nutrition info (no bun): 9 g carbs, 18 g fat, and 34 g protein
8. The “big breakfast” without the biscuit and hash browns
This classic breakfast totally qualifies as keto if you skip the biscuit and hash browns to lower the carb count (essentially making it a scrambled eggs and sausage meal).
Nutrition info (without the main carb items): 2 g carbs, 29 g fat, and 19 g protein
9. Big Mac without the bun
Yup, you can still eat a Big Mac when you’re on the keto diet, though it’s definitely not the healthiest keto option on the menu. If you’re looking for an indulgence that still falls in the keto range, this is it.