The Ultimate Keto Guide to McDonald’s Fast Food

Eating out while on a ketogenic diet can be a challenge, especially when it comes to fast food. The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that has become increasingly popular for its potential weight loss and health benefits.

One of the challenges of maintaining this diet is finding keto-friendly options when dining out, especially at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s. However, with a little knowledge and customization, you can still enjoy a satisfying meal without breaking your diet.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the keto-friendly items at McDonald’s, providing you with a comprehensive guide to navigating their menu.

From burgers and chicken to salads and breakfast items, we’ll cover the best options and tips for customizing your meal to fit your keto lifestyle. So the next time you find yourself at McDonald’s, you’ll know exactly what to order and how to maintain your low-carb, high-fat diet.

Understanding McDonald’s Menu

Before diving into the specific keto-friendly options at McDonald’s, it’s essential to understand the various categories of their menu and some general tips for customizing menu items to fit the ketogenic diet. McDonald’s offers a wide range of options, including burgers, chicken, salads, breakfast items, sides, and beverages.

Categories of McDonald’s Menu Items:

  1. Burgers
  2. Chicken
  3. Salads
  4. Breakfast
  5. Sides
  6. Beverages

Tips for Making McDonald’s Menu Items Keto-Friendly

When following a keto diet, it’s crucial to eliminate or minimize the number of carbs in your meal while emphasizing high-fat ingredients. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when ordering at McDonald’s:

  1. Removing buns and breading: Bread and breading are significant sources of carbs, so it’s best to remove them from your meal. For burgers, you can request to have them served without the bun, and for chicken dishes, opt for grilled options instead of breaded and fried ones.
  2. Avoiding sugary sauces and condiments: Ketchup, special sauce, and other sweet condiments can add unnecessary carbs to your meal. Instead, choose mustard or mayonnaise, which are lower in carbs and suitable for the keto diet.
  3. Focusing on high-fat, low-carb ingredients: When customizing your meal, try to emphasize ingredients like cheese, bacon, and avocado, which are high in fat and low in carbs. This will help you stay within your keto macronutrient goals.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared to navigate McDonald’s menu and identify the best keto-friendly options.

In the following sections, we’ll provide specific recommendations for each category, making it even easier for you to enjoy a satisfying meal at McDonald’s without breaking your diet.

Keto-Friendly Burgers and Sandwiches

One of McDonald’s most popular menu categories is their burgers and sandwiches. With a few modifications, you can enjoy these classic fast-food items while sticking to your keto diet.

To make McDonald’s burgers keto-friendly, simply remove the bun and any high-carb condiments. Here are some popular choices:

1- Quarter Pounder with Cheese (no bun, no ketchup): This classic burger features a juicy beef patty, two slices of cheese, pickles, onions, and mustard. Skipping the bun and ketchup keeps the carbs low while still delivering great taste.

  • Calories: 340
  • Total Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Protein: 25g

2. Big Mac (no bun, no special sauce): The iconic Big Mac can be made keto-friendly by removing the bun and special sauce. You’ll still enjoy two beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions, creating a satisfying low-carb meal.

  • Calories: 330
  • Total Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 18g

3. McDouble (no bun, no ketchup): The McDouble is a simple yet delicious option, featuring two beef patties and a slice of cheese. Omit the bun and ketchup to keep it keto-compliant.

  • Calories: 280
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Protein: 20g

Keep in mind that these values are approximate and should be used as a guideline. Always consult McDonald’s official nutritional information for the most accurate data.

Customizing Your Burger Order

In addition to removing the bun and high-carb condiments, there are other ways to customize your burger order to make it even more keto-friendly:

  1. Adding extra lettuce for a makeshift lettuce wrap: Request extra lettuce when ordering your burger, which can be used to create a lettuce wrap, adding crunch and making it easier to hold.
  2. Requesting extra cheese, bacon, or avocado for added fats: To increase the fat content of your meal, ask for additional cheese, bacon, or avocado (if available). These ingredients are high in fat and low in carbs, aligning with your keto goals.
  3. Opting for mustard and mayonnaise instead of ketchup or special sauce: As mentioned earlier, mustard and mayonnaise are lower in carbs compared to ketchup and special sauce. When customizing your burger, choose these keto-friendly condiments to keep the carbs in check.

Keto-Friendly Chicken Items

McDonald’s also offers various chicken dishes on their menu. While some options may not be suitable for the keto diet, there are still keto-friendly choices available.

A. Grilled chicken selections Grilled chicken options are typically lower in carbs compared to breaded and fried counterparts. Here are two keto-friendly grilled chicken options:

  1. Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no bun, no sauce): This sandwich features a grilled chicken breast, lettuce, and tomato. By removing the bun and sauce, you’ll get a low-carb meal packed with protein. You can also add cheese, bacon, or avocado for extra fat content.
    • Calories (without bun and sauce): 160
    • Total Fat: 3.5g
    • Saturated Fat: 1g
    • Carbohydrates: 2g
    • Protein: 29g
  2. Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad (no dressing, or opt for low-carb dressing): This salad includes grilled chicken, bacon, shredded cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. To make it keto-friendly, avoid using high-carb salad dressings and choose a low-carb alternative, or enjoy the salad without any dressing.
    • Calories (without dressing): 330
    • Total Fat: 15g
    • Saturated Fat: 7g
    • Carbohydrates: 9g
    • Protein: 42g

Avoiding Breaded and Fried Chicken

It’s essential to avoid breaded and fried chicken options like Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches, as they are high in carbs and not suitable for a keto diet. Always check the nutritional information of each dish to ensure it meets your keto requirements.

Low-Carb Salad Options

  1. Side Salad: The Side Salad at McDonald’s contains mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and shredded carrots. To keep it keto-friendly, choose a low-carb dressing or bring your own.
    • Calories (without dressing): 15
    • Total Fat: 0g
    • Saturated Fat: 0g
    • Carbohydrates: 3g
    • Protein: 1g
  2. Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad (no tortilla strips or corn): This salad features grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, and shredded cheese. Remove the tortilla strips and corn to keep the carb count low. Opt for a low-carb dressing or enjoy the salad without dressing.
    • Calories (without tortilla strips, corn, and dressing): 340
    • Total Fat: 11g
    • Saturated Fat: 5g
    • Carbohydrates: 15g
    • Protein: 37g

Choosing the Right Salad Dressing

The dressing can significantly impact the carb count of your salad. Here are some tips for choosing a keto-friendly dressing at McDonald’s:

  1. Low-carb dressing options at McDonald’s: Look for dressings that are low in carbs, such as the Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing or the Creamy Caesar Dressing. Keep in mind that the nutritional values for these dressings can vary, so always check the label before using them.
  2. Bringing your own keto-friendly dressing: If you’re unsure about the dressings available at McDonald’s, consider bringing your own keto-friendly dressing. This way, you can control the ingredients and carb count of your salad.

Keto-Friendly Breakfast Items

Breakfast is an essential meal of the day, and McDonald’s offers a variety of breakfast items. Here are some keto-friendly options that will help you start your day on the right foot while sticking to your diet.

  1. Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit (no biscuit): This breakfast sandwich consists of a folded egg, bacon, and American cheese. Simply remove the biscuit and enjoy the protein-rich filling.
    • Calories (without biscuit): 190
    • Total Fat: 15g
    • Saturated Fat: 7g
    • Carbohydrates: 2g
    • Protein: 12g
  2. Sausage, Egg & Cheese McMuffin (no English muffin): This tasty sandwich features a sausage patty, folded egg, and American cheese. Omit the English muffin to create a low-carb breakfast option.
    • Calories (without English muffin): 340
    • Total Fat: 29g
    • Saturated Fat: 12g
    • Carbohydrates: 3g
    • Protein: 16g
  3. Egg McMuffin (no English muffin): The classic Egg McMuffin includes a fried egg, Canadian bacon, and American cheese. Enjoy it without the English muffin for a keto-friendly meal.
    • Calories (without English muffin): 160
    • Total Fat: 11g
    • Saturated Fat: 5g
    • Carbohydrates: 2g
    • Protein: 13g

Customizing Your Breakfast Order

  1. Request extra cheese, bacon, or avocado for added fats: Boost the fat content of your breakfast by asking for additional cheese, bacon, or avocado (if available). These ingredients are high in fat and low in carbs, perfect for the keto diet.
  2. Order a la carte: Another way to create a keto-friendly breakfast is by ordering a la carte items such as eggs, sausage patties, or bacon. Combine these high-fat, low-carb ingredients for a satisfying, keto-friendly meal.

Keto-Friendly Sides and Beverages

When dining at McDonald’s, it’s essential to consider the sides and beverages that accompany your meal to ensure they align with your keto diet. Here are some keto-friendly sides and drink options to complement your low-carb meal.

Keto-Friendly Sides

  1. Apple Slices: While fruits are generally higher in carbs than other keto-friendly foods, apple slices are a relatively low-carb option if you’re looking for a small, refreshing side dish.
    • Calories: 15
    • Total Fat: 0g
    • Saturated Fat: 0g
    • Carbohydrates: 4g
    • Protein: 0g
  2. Side Salad: As mentioned in the previous section, the Side Salad can be a suitable low-carb side option when paired with a low-carb dressing or enjoyed without dressing.

Keto-Friendly Beverages

  1. Water: Water is always the best option for staying hydrated without adding extra calories or carbs.
  2. Unsweetened Iced Tea: If you prefer something other than water, unsweetened iced tea is a refreshing, low-carb option.
  3. Black Coffee: If you need a caffeine boost, black coffee is a keto-friendly choice. Avoid adding sugar or flavored syrups, as they contain carbs. Instead, consider using a sugar substitute or adding a splash of heavy cream to your coffee.
  4. Diet Soda: Diet sodas, such as Diet Coke or Coke Zero, are sugar-free and low in carbs. However, it’s essential to consume diet sodas in moderation, as artificial sweeteners may have potential health concerns and affect your appetite or cravings.

Final Tips

Sticking to a keto diet while dining at McDonald’s is entirely possible with a little planning and creativity. By carefully selecting and customizing your menu items, you can enjoy a satisfying meal that aligns with your keto lifestyle. Here are some final tips to help you stay keto while eating at McDonald’s:

  1. Plan ahead: Before visiting McDonald’s, review their menu and nutritional information online to identify keto-friendly options and determine any customizations you’ll need to make.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications: McDonald’s staff are accustomed to handling special requests. Don’t hesitate to ask for changes to your order, such as removing buns, using lettuce wraps, or omitting high-carb ingredients.
  3. Prioritize high-fat, low-carb ingredients: When customizing your meal, focus on ingredients like cheese, bacon, avocado, and mayonnaise, which are high in fat and low in carbs.
  4. Choose beverages wisely: Opt for low-carb drink options like water, unsweetened iced tea, black coffee, or diet soda. Avoid sugary beverages and flavored syrups that can add unnecessary carbs to your meal.
  5. Bring your own keto-friendly extras: If you’re unsure about the dressings or condiments available at McDonald’s, consider bringing your own keto-friendly alternatives to ensure your meal stays within your dietary guidelines.
  6. Practice moderation: While it’s possible to maintain a keto diet at McDonald’s, it’s essential to remember that fast food should not be the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Enjoy McDonald’s keto-friendly options in moderation, and prioritize whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

By following these tips and recommendations, you can successfully navigate McDonald’s menu and enjoy a delicious keto-friendly meal without compromising your diet goals.

Derek Masters

Derek Masters is an Amazon best-selling author. After much research, he began keto at 381 pounds in the middle of 2019. Losing 60 pounds and counting, he wants to share what he's learned with others who wish to learn about the ketogenic lifestyle

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