I’m on a mission to order low carb at the top 30 fast food chains in the US. One month is what I’ve given myself to complete the mission, so I’ll be eating a lot of fast food over the next 30 days.
If you want to follow along, you can subscribe to updates at the end of this post.
For each fast food restaurant I’m evaluating:
- Availability of low carb entrees (less than 20 net carbs).
- Satiety of low carb entrees.
- Price of low carb entrees.
- Taste of low carb entrees.
- Ordering experience.
My most recent stop was at Burger King which has a couple locations within 3 miles of my house. I hadn’t been to Burger King in ages and my first thought as I pulled into the drive-thru was “who still goes to Burger King anyways?”
As you can see, I’m not really angling for corporate sponsorships here.
I was the only person in line when I pulled up to the drive-thru at 5:30pm. Great for convenience, but a little unsettling if you believe that food quality directly correlates with the busy-ness of a restaurant.
Let’s see how well Burger King does.
Overall Ratings for Burger King
I rate Burger King as low-carb friendly because you can order bunless burgers, bunless hotdogs, bunless grilled chicken sandwiches, bunless Croissan’wiches, and a few different pre-made salads. I enjoyed my meals, there were several low carb options off-menu, and the staff handled my low carb orders seamlessly.
- Low carb friendly – Yes
- Low carb entrees on menu – Limited. There are two salads on the menu that have fewer than 20 carbs and offer enough calories to serve as a meal (listed below in the ‘what you can order’ section).
- Low carb entrees off menu – Several. You can special request bunless burgers, bunless grilled chicken sandwiches, and bunless Croissan’wiches.
- Satiety of low carb entrees – Above average. I was satiated after eating my double whopper with cheese for dinner and absolutely stuffed after eating two bunless croissan’wiches for breakfast.
- Taste of low carb entrees – Great. I enjoyed my bunless whopper and my bunless Croissan’wiches.
- Price / value of low carb entrees – Above average. I paid $5.49 for a Double Whopper with Cheese and then later paid $6.78 for two bunless Croissan’wiches. Both transactions seemed like a good value to me.
- Ordering experience – Excellent. I was actually surprised that both times I ordered, the drive-thru attendants didn’t second guess my “no bun” request. It was as if she had heard it a 1,000 times. The ordering experience was so fluid, that I double checked my orders when they handed me my bag and they got it 100% right
I think it’s natural to want to compare Burger King to McDonald’s. The two things I noticed from the low carb perspective are that at Burger King you can get mushrooms added to your burger and they offer hot dogs. Otherwise, the two low carb experiences felt similar. Both have good tasting low carb options, with Burger King offering a more seamless ordering experience ,and McDonald’s restaurants having the better curb appeal.
What you should order
For breakfast, I recommend you order two bunless Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissan’wiches.
For lunch or dinner, I recommend the bunless Double Whopper with Cheese. Get two if you’re very hungry.
If you need some extra greens in your diet, they have a side salad with ranch dressing that has 7 carbs.
For drinks, I recommend getting a free glass of ice water.
What I ordered
My first time through the drive-thru, I got their bunless Double Whopper with Cheese.
It was delicious and snugly packed into a convenient plastic tray with a lid. Reminds me a lot of the McDonald’s quarter pounder.
Ordering the bunless Double Whopper at Burger King was easy. I asked for “no bun” and they made it happen without questioning the order. I like it when I’m not questioned :).
For my second meal, I went back the next day and ordered breakfast. As a practitioner of intermittent fasting, I rarely eat breakfast, but I have been doing so during this fast food challenge.
For breakfast, I wanted to get a little crazy so I ordered a Fully Loaded Croissan’wich with sausage, bacon, ham, egg & cheese) and then my standard bunless sausage, egg, & cheese Croissan’wich
The bunless Fully Loaded Croissan’wich was overkill but it was fun to try once. The Sausage Egg & Cheese Croissanwich was delicious and will be my go-to Burger King breakfast order moving forward.
The breakfast order was also seamless. Burger King definitely handled my low carb orders more smoothly than McDonald’s, which surprised me.
What you can order
Bunless burgers, bunless hotdogs, bunless grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled chicken salads (their crispy chicken has too many carbs), small side salads, and bunless breakfast sandwiches.
The specific salads you can order are:
- Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad w/ grilled Chicken & Dressing (w/o Croutons)
- Chicken BLT Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (w/o Croutons)
- Garden Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (w/o Croutons)
If you’re into sauces, dips, dressings, & condiments, the following are great options at Burger King because they have 4 net carbs or less ( carbs in parentheses):
- Mayonnaise (1)
- Ranch Dipping Sauce (1)
- Buffalo Dipping Sauce (1)
- Ketchup (3)
- Ken’s Avocado Ranch Dressing (4)
- Ken’s Citrus Caesar Dressing (4)
It’s the same, custom low carb menu I used to plan my orders before going to Burger King during this challenge.
What you should avoid
In case you’re new to low carb or keto eating, I’ll start by saying that all Burger King buns, fries, hash browns, tortillas, pancakes, and desserts (cookies, shakes, cones, etc) should be avoided.
There are also some less obvious entrees and sides to avoid that I’ve listed below. They seem like they might be low carb, but aren’t.
Tempting entrees to avoid:
- Chicken Nuggets – Each little nugget has 2-3 carbs.
- Chicken Fries – 17 grams of carbs and serving size is inadequate for a meal.
- Crispy Chicken Salads – 20+ carbs due to breading on the chicken.
- Bunless Crispy Chicken Sandwiches – 20+ carbs due to breading on the chicken
- Steakhouse & Rodeo Burgers – 20+ carbs due to breading on onion rings and BBQ sauce
Tempting sides to avoid:
- Mozzarella Sticks – 24 carbs thanks to the breading.
- Onion Rings – 40+ carbs because they are heavily breaded.
Tempting sauces / condiments to avoid:
- Strawberry or Grape Jam packet (7)
- Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (8)
- Barbecue Dipping Sauce (11)
- Breakfast Syrup (30)
Tempting salad dressings to avoid:
- Ken’s Apple Cider Vinaigrette (10)
- Ken’s Lite Honey Balsamic (14)
- KEN’S Honey Mustard Dressing (15)
My next low carb / keto ordering guide will be for Chipotle. I had an awesome lunch there the Friday before writing this and may go back for a few more meals during this Challenge. Excited to report back.
To get my Chipotle low carb ordering guide via email, sign up here:
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My plan is to report back with final results for how this fast food experiment affects my health, well-being, and bank account. And you’ll get some simple low carb recipes and other tips from me for all the times you’re not eating in a fast food joint :).
aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”