On the keto diet and not sure what you can order when you drive up to Taco Bell? No worries! There are actually some great keto options at the popular fast food chain, which probably comes as a pleasant surprise as we gear up for a busy holiday season that won't leave us with a whole lot of spare time to cook. So if you're looking for the best Taco Bell keto options, we got 'em.
“The keto diet is very rich in fat, has adequate protein and is very low in carbohydrates. With keto, the goal is for the body’s metabolism to utilize fat for fuel, instead of glucose, which allows the body to mimic a fasting state," explains Meredith Chandler, MS, RDN, a nutritionist at Atrium Health. She adds that as long as you're willing to make a few substitutions, you can still grab some favorites from your favorite Mexican fast food spot with a keto-friendly twist, from breakfast options to dinner and late-night snacks.
The simplest keto Taco Bell hacks will typically include grabbing extra proteins like chicken or beef, and veggie add-ons like lettuce, onions, peppers and tomatoes. You'll also want to skip tortillas, taco shells, chips, rice, beans and refried beans, says nurse practitioner and nutritionist Emily Weaver, owner of Root Power Nutrition LLC. “While beans are a good source of protein for a vegan or a vegetarian diet, they are also high in carbohydrates. Sauces also tend to be higher in carbohydrates,” she adds, noting that it’s OK to include shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole for fats.
Looking for more keto Taco Bell specifics? Here are 10 delicious, nutritionist-approved Taco Bell keto options.
Keto Taco Bell Options
Taco Bell’s power menu bowl is one of the best options for keto dieters. Tamar Samuels, RDN, NBC-HWC and owner of Culina Health says, “This is probably the easiest to make keto because the ingredients are the easiest to customize.” Chandler adds, “a chicken, steak or veggie power bowl with no rice, or beans and try adding extra lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole.” Make sure you leave off any extra sauces, too.
Weaver says this salad is a great option if you make some tweaks, because contrary to popular belief all salads aren’t created equal. “You would need to eliminate the beans and rice, the tortilla strips and avoid eating the shell that it's served in and ask for some extra lettuce, salsa, cheese and beef then you would have a much less carb-heavy meal on your hands.” Chandler adds, noting that you can also add guacamole and sour cream.
Related: 56 Healthy Keto Diet Recipes
Steak for breakfast? Of course! Weaver says this can be a great breakfast option if you get it without the tortilla, served in a bowl, without the potatoes. Ask for eggs to pack a punch.
The Breakfast Crunchwrap comes with bacon, cheese, scrambled eggs and hash brown in a tortilla. Samuels says, “You’ll have to remove the wrap entirely and definitely remove the hash browns to make it keto.”
With Mexican food, chips come to mind as a top snack—but there are other, more keto-friendly snacks too. “Try choosing a cheese roll up and dip it in guacamole or grab a low-carb vegetable and top it with the guac.”
This bowl has potatoes in it, so all three nutritionists say pass on the potatoes and add more protein like steak or eggs.
Right off the bat, you’ll have to remove the tortilla and beans. “Just turn it into a burrito bowl with no rice or beans. This one has veggies, so it would be the best keto-friendly burrito option,” explains Samuels.
Related: 13 Easy Keto Dessert Recipes
8. Grande Toasted Burrito
This is another meal where you'll have to remove the flour tortilla and potatoes. Weaver suggests asking if you can make it into a bowl so you're just dealing with meat and cheese.
“There are over 60 grams of carbs in this burrito as is, and the only keto-friendly ingredients are the beef, sour cream and shredded cheese,” Weaver says. Ask for this one in a bowl sans the tortilla and add in extra veggies.
Related: How to Eat Vegan at Chick-Fil-A
10. Cheddar Crisps
Taco Bell joined the keto snack craze with their line of cheddar crisps. “Looking at macros, there are only 2 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat and 14 grams of protein in these chips. They do have 420 milligrams sodium, which is about a quarter of daily recommended salt intake so I wouldn’t have these every day, but in a pinch this is a decent alternative to potato chips if you have a craving,” explains Samuels.
Next, here are 150 foods to eat on the keto diet.
Need a quick keto diet explainer? Watch the TMI Show: