Are you craving a trip to your favorite fast-food taco spot? Are you worried that Taco Bell is off the menu as you are following a low carb diet? Not to worry! It’s definitely possible to find great low carb choices on the menu with a little creativity and customization. Read on and find the best keto taco bell menu items in this post!
Does Taco Bell have keto meals?
Unfortunately, if you only look at the standard menu items, you’re not going to find much that fits a keto diet. A quick glance at the Taco Bell nutrition chart shows most items are quite high in carbohydrates, which will quickly kick you out of ketosis.
For example, here’s a screenshot of some of the Taco Bell nutrition facts for breakfast items – you can see the carbohydrate column highlighted. Everything shown is most likely going to be over your goal for net carbohydrates for a meal.
But there’s good news – you can customize your order to create a keto Taco Bell meal! I’ve got some specific done-for-you meal ideas further down in this post, but you can also learn how to create your own customized keto taco bell orders.
You can easily use the Taco Bell Nutrition Calculator on their website to play around with adding/subtracting ingredients from a specific menu item to find a combination of ingredients that work for your diet.
It’s helpful to use the calculator ahead of time – or grab some of the recommended menu items further down in this post – so you can confidently order when you get there without guessing if it will have too many carbohydrates. All you need to do is tell them you want to cut out or add something to the menu item order.
For example, you can ask for changes like leaving out your rice and beans or skipping the tortilla and having the fillings served in a bowl. You can also ask for things like extra lettuce or to add on a low-carb sauce.
Keto-friendly Taco Bell ingredients
Here’s a handy cheat sheet of the ingredients you’ll want to avoid and include when customizing your meal:
Ingredients to avoid
When you’re customizing your order, there are some key ingredients to avoid due to their high-carb status:
- Tortillas (flour or corn)
- Taco shells
- Red strips
- Nacho chips
Ingredients to include
Not everything is off-limits, though! Here are some tasty items to consider including in your order:
- Jalapeno peppers
- Pico de gallo
- Ground beef (keep in mind the seasoning they use for their ground beef does contain a few grams of carbs, so if you’re going to go extra on meat – might be better to go load up on more steak or chicken)
- Sauces (small portions; see below)
Taco Bell sauces are a classic addition to any meal – and luckily, most of them can fit into a keto diet. If you look at the list below, each one contains between 0 to 2 grams of carbohydrate (assuming a “regular” add-on portion and not built into a menu item).
Here’s a helpful breakdown of the nutrition facts for their popular sauces:
- Creamy jalapeno sauce – 60 calories, 6 g fat, <1 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein
- Nacho cheese sauce – 30 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein
- Red sauce – 10 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein
- Creamy chipotle sauce – 300 calories, 32 g fat, <1 g carbohydrate, <1 g protein
- Hot sauce packets – 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein
Here’s where it gets tricky though. Some menu items have these sauces built-in, but they include larger amounts. For example, the nacho dishes may build in nacho cheese or red sauce and instead of the amounts above, they clock in with these nutrition facts instead due to larger portions:
- Nacho cheese sauce – 110 calories, 8 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein
- Red sauce – 35 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein
These amounts wouldn’t work for a keto meal – once you combine them with the actual food in your dish, you’d almost certainly end up over your carb limit for that meal.
This is why the nutrition calculator is super helpful; it can help you see these unique situations. Even though a small amount of the sauce would be fine, you wouldn’t want to order a menu item like this which has the larger, higher carb portion.
Alright, so you know how to start putting together a custom meal yourself – but are you thinking it might be too much work to figure this out? No problem, friends. Here’s a list of several keto Taco Bell meal ideas, including exactly how to order them and their nutrition breakdown.
*All photos are screenshots from the Taco Bell nutrition calculator; always double-check yourself as portion sizes or ingredient choices may change.
1. Grande Scrambler Burrito with no flour tortilla and no potatoes.
This will end up being a bowl filled with eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, and nacho cheese sauce.
Nutrition breakdown: 260 calories, 20 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrate (around 6.5 grams net carbs), and 13 grams of protein
2. Breakfast Steak Quesadilla with no tortilla.
This will leave you with a bowl order that includes eggs, steak, and the three-cheese blend.
Nutrition breakdown: 300 calories, 21 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrate (4 grams net carbs), and 24 grams of protein
3. Mini Skillet bowl with no potatoes; add sausage crumbles, jalapenos, and guacamole.
This gives you a bowl that contains eggs, pico de gallo, and nacho cheese – plus your additions of sausage crumbles, jalapenos, and guacamole.
Nutrition breakdown: 190 calories, 15 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrate (5 grams net carbs), and 6 grams protein
1. Power Menu Bowl with no beans and no rice.
This leaves you with a bowl filled with flame-grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and avocado ranch sauce.
Nutrition breakdown: 250 calories, 15 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrate (5 grams net carbs), and 21 grams of protein.
2. Grilled Steak Soft Taco – order 3 with no tortillas.
This simple order is easy and requires only one modification – no tortilla. (This also makes it easy to just order straight off the menu, scoop out the filling, then toss the tortilla if you don’t feel like doing a customized order). You’re left with a bowl of lettuce, tomatoes, steak, cheddar, and avocado ranch sauce. Ordering three makes for more of a complete dish.
Nutrition breakdown (total for ordering three; nutrition screenshot below shown for one serving): 350 calories, 22 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrate (8 grams net carbs), 29 grams protein
3. Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla – order 3 with no tortillas; add lettuce
Order three of this dollar menu classic and make it keto-friendly when you just skip the tortilla and add lettuce instead. (Three servings makes it more like a meal and less like a snack). You can ask them to put it all in a bowl – the result will be lettuce, shredded chicken, three cheese blend, and creamy chipotle sauce.
Nutrition breakdown (for ordering three; nutrition screenshot below shown for one serving): 340 calories, 25 g fat, 6 g carbohydrate (4 g net carbs), 24 grams protein
4. Fiesta Taco Salad with no taco shell, no red strips, no rice, no beans. Order extra lettuce.
In this case, you end up with a salad that has lettuce, pico de gallo, tomatoes, seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. *This is going to be on the brink for some of you as far as whether it fits – it really depends on your overall carb limit for the day and how your body might handle a slightly larger carb portion. Nine net carbs might be fine for some people but too much for others.
Nutrition breakdown: 250 calories, 15 grams fat, 15 grams total carbohydrate (9 grams net carbohydrate), 15 grams protein.
If you are looking for meat-free keto meal alterative, then you should look no further that our keto tofu post. Keto-Friendly Tofu Facts and Nutritional Information.
- If for some reason you have problems ordering something without the tortilla or nacho chips – remember you can always get it as-is, scoop out the inner goodness into a bowl, and then toss the carb-rich shells or burrito.
- There is also an online ordering app for Taco Bell where you can customize your orders. The only problem with this is that they don’t give you the ability to customize the shell or tortilla – so while you can make all the other changes I mentioned above in the recommended menu items, you’d have to order with the shell/tortilla and then scoop the filling out.
- The nice thing about the online app is that you increase the odds of the store getting the rest of your order correct (i.e. extra lettuce, skipping red strips, etc.). And if you create an account, the app will actually save your order history so you can easily reorder items later.
- Don’t forget to think about drinks when you’re following a keto diet. Obviously, any soda or juice would contain far too many carbohydrates. For breakfast, coffee (with or without one half and half creamer) is a good choice. For other meals, stick with water. Some people will also use diet sodas while on the keto diet; that’s a personal choice that you can make as far as whether you feel comfortable with artificial sweeteners.
Alright, hopefully, that’s a helpful overview of what keto Taco Bell items you can order! Eating out when you are on a keto diet can get tricky, more so if you’re unsure of what restaurants offer keto friendly meals. Luckily, Ketofoodist has put together a list of restaurants that offers a range of keto options. If you have any questions, be sure to leave ‘em in the comments.
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