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How to Eat Keto at Shake Shack

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on October 25, 2021

Shake Shack is known for its burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes. If you’re on the keto diet, some menu items here are off-limits. But there are plenty of keto diet-friendly options to be found. In fact, on the keto diet, you’re encouraged to eat a burger patty high in fats and protein. The key is to customize your choices.

What Are the Keto Diet Guidelines?

When you’re on the keto diet, it’s quite restrictive. The centerpiece of your menu will be fatty foods, which will make up about 60% to 80% of your daily calories. Proteins should account for about 15% to 20%, while your carb total should be limited to only about 5% to 10% of your intake each day. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this works out to about 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbs.

Because you’re on a high-fat diet, your body will burn fat for energy and produce an acid molecule called a “ketone.” This acid fuels your body with energy just like glucose. Ketosis is the term used for the metabolic state your body enters when ketones are present in your blood. If you take in too many carbs, you risk coming out of ketosis.

How to Eat Keto at Shake Shack

To make your meal at Shake Shack work with the keto diet, you’ll have to toss the potato bun, hold the sauces and sides like fries, and load up on the meats. This way, you can keep your fat and protein intake high and stay in ketosis. You’ll also have to skip the shakes entirely.

Burgers and Hot Dogs

If you don’t want to just eat a burger patty or frank by itself, ask for a lettuce wrap. You can then load it up with your favorite meat and low-carb toppings.

Here’s how some of the most popular Shake Shack offerings shape up in terms of carbs, fat, and protein:

  • Cheeseburger, single, with bun (25 grams of carbs, 24 grams fat, 28 grams protein)
  • ShackBurger, single, with bun (26 grams carbs, 30 grams fat, 29 grams protein)
  • SmokeShack, single, with bun (28 grams carbs, 35 grams fat, 36 grams protein)
  • Chik’n Shack with bun (34 grams carbs, 31 grams fat, 33 grams protein)
  • Chik’n Bites (6-piece) (15 grams carbs, 19 grams fat, 17 grams protein)
  • Hot dog, with bun (25 grams carbs, 22 grams fat, 16 grams protein)

To spice up your meal and still stay within keto diet guidelines, add some of the sauces and flavored mayos available. Shacksauce adds 6 grams of fat with 0 carbs, while herb mayo has 10 grams of fat and 0 carbs. Habanero mayo packs on 24 grams of fat offset by just 6 grams of carbs. And cheese sauce for a hot dog adds 7 grams of fat with 1 gram of carbs. But stay away from the BBQ sauce: Its high sugar content gives it 16 grams of carbs with no fat or protein.

Breakfast

To keep your breakfast within keto diet guidelines, pass on the bun. You can add toppings that work with this diet or add extra eggs, meats, and cheese to make it a bigger meal. These breakfast options will contain under 3 grams of carbs:

  • Bacon breakfast sandwich (25 grams carbs, 23 grams fat, 23 grams protein)
  • Egg and cheese breakfast sandwich (28 grams carbs, 32 grams fat, 30 grams protein)
  • Sausage breakfast sandwich (25 grams carbs, 19 grams fat, 17 grams protein)

Toppings and Sides

  • Shacksauce (0 grams carbs, 11 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Applewood smoked bacon, 2 slices (0 grams carbs, 4.5 grams fat, 6 grams protein)
  • Lettuce (0 carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Cherry peppers (2 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Cheese (1 gram carbs, 4 grams fat, 4 grams protein)
  • Tomato (1 gram carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Pickle (0 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Onion (1 gram carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
  • Herb mayonnaise (0 grams carbs, 10 grams fat, 0 grams protein)

Drinks and Desserts

If you’re planning to stay in ketosis, skip the dessert menu entirely, no matter how tempting it may seem. The milkshakes are packed with sugars and calories and kick you out of ketosis easily.

For beverages, your best choices include bottled water, unsweetened iced tea, and diet soda.

Some Shake Shack locations also serve alcohol. Keto-friendly alcoholic beverages include a glass of white wine, which has 4 grams of carbs, while a glass of red contains about 5 grams.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Is the keto diet for you? A Mayo expert weighs in.”

Harvard School of Public Health: “Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “All About the Keto Diet.”

Shake Shack: “Nutritional Information.”

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