Let’s face it. There is really nothing healthy about most fast food restaurants. They use highly processed meats and cheeses, buns and bread packed with white flour and preservatives, and sauces and dressings full of refined sugar. Because of this, it’s best to avoid fast food at all costs, especially if you’re trying to stay in ketosis.
But every once and awhile you might find yourself in a pinch where you need something quick, and you don’t have time to make a meal at home. In situations like this, fast food might be your only choice. And while you definitely shouldn’t make a fast food burger your typical lunch, there are ways to make it work in emergency situations.
Burger King is a good place to go if you’re on the ketogenic diet because they offer a lot of high-fat and low-carb options. You’ll just need to learn how to customize your meals so that you’re getting the proper macronutrient ratio. We’ve put together a list of tips for ordering at Burger King and which food options are best.
Tips For Ordering at Burger King
No matter what your health goals are, most nutrition experts would agree that cutting out fast food and processed junk is the first thing you should do. This is especially true if you follow a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
Burger King isn’t your ideal ketogenic restaurant, but it sure is a heck of a lot better than most fast food restaurants when it comes to finding something low-carb.
You’ll want to keep in mind that there is a big difference between ketogenic and low-carb. Sure, you can order a bunless burger that contains few (if any) carbs, but you’ll also be indulging in processed meats and questionable ingredients.
Follow these tips to help you make the best decision possible when ordering at Burger King (BK).
#1. Start with a side salad
If you’re hitting up BK for lunch, dinner, or a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, then always start with a side salad. This guarantees that you’ll be getting some vitamins and minerals in, which you probably won’t find much of in a sandwich alone.
Make sure you order the salad plain without any dressing and hold the croutons or toss them out if they make their way on your salad. A garden side salad at BK contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber (2 grams net carbs), and 4 grams of protein.
#2. Stick with a bunless burger
You can take just about any burger at BK and throw out the bun and you’ll have a low-carb meal. Along with getting rid of the bun, you’ll also want to order your burger without any sauces, such as ketchup or BBQ sauce.
Some burgers also come with fries or onion rings on them, so you’ll want to make sure to throw these out too (or as for your burger without them).
Try their bacon king sandwich, which comes with two quarter-pound beef patties, bacon and cheddar cheese, and eat it alongside your plain salad for a low-carb meal.
If you hold the mayo, ketchup and bun, you’ll be left with a 740 calorie meal that contains 57 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and 53 grams of protein. We bet you won’t be hungry after that!
#3. Consider a breakfast sandwich
The breakfast sandwiches at Burger King aren’t as calorie dense as some of their burgers are, but they still meet the requirements for a low-carb meal. If you need a quick mid-morning snack, consider a breakfast sandwich without the bun or bread, of course.
Their fully loaded biscuit sandwich comes with bacon, eggs, ham, cheese and sausage. One of these sandwiches minus the bread will provide you with 380 calories, 29 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of protein. Plus, their breakfast sandwiches are pretty easy to eat without the bun since the egg is in solid form and isn’t sloppy.
#4. Check their nutritional calculator
If you really want to be prepared, head over to the Burger King website and check out their food options. You’ll find nutrition information for everything offered on the menu. This can help you determine which meal is best for the macros you need to fill that day.
You can also customize your meal. So, if you need a burger without the bun or ketchup, you can calculate the nutritional information without these ingredients.
#5. Ask for no sauce
In addition to throwing the bun away, you’ll also want to order your sandwiches (and salad) with no sauce or dressings. This includes mayo, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and salad dressing.
Most of these dressings and sauces contain vegetable oils and refined sugar to make them taste better and keep them shelf stable, which are ingredients that you want to avoid on the ketogenic diet. Stick with mustard if you must top your burger with something or ask for another slice of cheese.
#6. Lay off the sides
If you hit the drive-through line at Burger King, you might be asked if you want to add a beverage or side to your meal. Just say no!
There is nothing ketogenic about any of the sides at BK, which include French fries, pies, shakes, onion rings, applesauce, and hash browns. Even the iced tea appears to be sweetened.
You can always check at your local BK, but if it’s sweetened, you’ll want to stick with a bottle of water or a cup of coffee with cream.
Related: How To Order Low Carb at McDonald’s
What To Order At Burger King For Every Meal
We’ve broken down the best foods you should eat at Burger King for every meal. Remember that although these foods are OK to eat every once in a while, you definitely don’t want to make them part of your daily or even weekly menu plan. These foods are OK for emergencies only or when there are no other food options available.
The breakfast sandwiches at Burger King are some of your best bets when it comes to ordering fast food. They are easy to eat without the bun or bread, and they tend to contain fewer calories than the burgers. Plus, they don’t usually come loaded with sauce or onion rings.
If you eat one of these first thing in the morning and then focus on eating healthy foods such as high-quality meats and fats the rest of the day, you won’t be sabotaging your diet too much. You can also enjoy one of these mid-morning to help you get by until lunch. Check your local BK as some locations might stop serving them around 10 am or 11 am.
Here are the best breakfast sandwiches to order:
- Double bacon breakfast sourdough king (minus the sourdough)
- Double sausage breakfast sourdough king (minus the sourdough)
- Double ham breakfast sourdough king (minus the sourdough)
- Fully loaded biscuit (minus the biscuit)
- Fully loaded croissant (minus the croissant)
- Sausage, egg and cheese croissant (minus the croissant)
- Bacon, egg and cheese croissant (minus the croissant)
- Ham, egg and cheese croissant (minus the croissant)
- King croissant with sausage and bacon (minus the croissant)
- King croissant with ham and sausage (minus the croissant)
- King croissant with double sausage (minus the croissant)
- Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit (minus the biscuit)
- Bacon, egg and cheese biscuit (minus the biscuit)
- Ham, egg and cheese biscuit (minus the biscuit)
You can always interchange your lunch and dinner options at BK or use one of these suggestions as a mid-afternoon snack. We recommend pairing one of these bunless and sauceless sandwiches with a plain side salad for added vitamins and fiber.
Keep in mind that many of the chicken sandwiches offered at Burger King are breaded, so you’ll want to order grilled chicken instead or stay away from them altogether. A good rule of thumb to remember is that anything with the word “crispy” in its description will probably be breaded.
These sandwiches are also loaded with sauce. So, ask for your chicken to be plain or dry, or use a tiny bit of mustard as it does not contain added sugar (only vinegar). Here are some good lunch options:
- Grilled chicken sandwich (minus the bun and mayo)
- Chicken garden salad (minus the croutons and dressing)
- Chicken club salad (minus the croutons and dressing)
As the name implies, Burger King is home to a lot of burgers. Since you can customize these sandwiches any way you want, choosing a burger is a good way to eat low-carb.
Remember that you can also eat one of these for lunch or even breakfast if you’re in need. Here are some of the best burgers at BK and how to order them:
- Jalapeno King sandwich (minus the bun and sauce)
- Sourdough King (minus the bun and sauce)
- Double quarter pound King (minus the ketchup, mayo and bun)
- Bacon King Jr. (minus the sauce and bun)
- Rodeo King (minus the onion rings, sauce, and bun)
- Whopper sandwich and whopper Jr. (minus the mayo, ketchup and bun)
- Sourdough King (minus the bun and sauce)
- Quarter pound King (minus the bun, sauce, and ketchup)
- BBQ bacon whopper sandwich (minus the sauce and bun)
- Double whopper sandwich (minus the sauce and bun)
- Bacon King sandwich (minus the bun and sauce)
- Bacon and cheese whopper (minus the sauce and bun)
- Single and double hamburgers and cheeseburgers (minus the bun and ketchup)
- Bacon and double bacon cheeseburger (minus the ketchup, sauce, and bun)
What NOT To Eat At Burger King
Most of the foods on this list are a no-brainer when it comes to foods that you should avoid on the ketogenic diet, but we’ve listed them out here so you know not to indulge in them.
The reason why they are not allowed on the ketogenic diet is because they contain breaded meat or ingredients that are too high in carbs.
- Egg-normous burrito (while the insides of the burrito are OK to eat, it might get a little messy trying to eat a burrito without the tortilla to hold it together)
- Breakfast burrito Jr. (contains hash browns)
- BK ultimate breakfast platter (contains hotcakes, hash browns and bread)
- French toast sticks
- Pancakes and sausage platter
- BK Joe Iced Coffee (contains sweetener)
- Crispy chicken tenders
- Spicy crispy jalapeno chicken sandwich
- Spicy crispy chicken sandwich
- Crispy jalapeno chicken sandwich
- Crispy chicken sandwich
- Rodeo crispy chicken sandwich
- BBQ bacon crispy chicken sandwich
- Bacon and cheese crispy sandwich
- Chicken fries
- Original chicken sandwich
- Chicken nuggets
- Big fish sandwich
- Chicken Jr. and spicy chicken Jr.
- Morning star veggie burger
- All milkshakes, pies and ice cream cones
Don’t get us wrong. Eating fast food is NOT ideal. The low carb fast food options are just for general low carb diets, not for strict ketogenic diet. If you’re serious about keto, make sure to stick to your keto meal plan and keto-approved food list.
But everyone runs into a situation sometimes where it’s inevitable. If it comes down to hitting the drive-through at a local fast food restaurant or not eating at all, then you have to do what you have to do. Burger King is an acceptable fast-food restaurant because it offers so many low-carb options. You just have to know how to order them.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between low-carb and ketogenic. While you might find plenty of burger options at BK, they are not strict keto. So try not to eat it more than once a month or so. For breakfast, try a BK breakfast sandwich without the bread.
For lunch or dinner, start with a plain side salad for some added vitamins and fiber and follow it with a bunless and sauceless burger. Stick with meats, cheese, and low-carb veggies, and you won’t derail your ketogenic diet.