- Irene Jiang / Business Insider
- The keto diet trend is taking over the US.
- Chains are adding keto options to the menu as more people seek out high-fat, low-carb dishes.
- Here are six keto-diet-approved menu items that chains including Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and Qdoba have rolled out this year.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As the keto diet sweeps America, restaurant chains are trying to cash in on the trend.
People adhering to keto diets limit their carbohydrate intake, pushing their bodies to switch into a fat-burning state called “ketosis.” That means ditching sugar, wheat, and beans, and cutting back on alcohol. Red meat and cream are encouraged in the high-fat, low-carb diet.
Sticking with any diet can be a challenge while eating out at restaurants. So, some chains are tweaking the menu to win over people on the keto diet.
Here are six chains that have rolled out keto-diet-approved menu items in 2019 and 2020.
Chipotle’s Keto Salad Bowl
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
In January 2019, Chipotle debuted a line of “Lifestyle Bowls,” designed to fit in different buzzy dieting trends. The line consists of the Paleo Salad Bowl, the Keto Salad Bowl, the Whole30 Salad Bowl, and the Double Protein Bowl.
The Keto Salad Bowl contains carnitas, romaine lettuce, red salsa, cheese, and guacamole.
Blaze Pizza’s Keto Pizza
- Irene Jiang / Business Insider
Blaze Pizza became the first national pizza chain to roll out a keto-approved option in the US in July 2019. The fast-casual chain’s keto crust has just six grams of net carbs, swapping flour for ingredients like flax seeds, eggs, and cheese.
“Pizza crusts are traditionally made mostly of flour, water and yeast,” Blaze Pizza’s executive chef, Brad Kent, told Business Insider. “Removing the flour brings several challenges since the gluten and starches and sugars (carbohydrates) deliver the desirable light, crispy, and chewy texture in addition to its toasty and yeasty flavor.”
The chain’s keto pizza features the keto crust, spicy red sauce, mozzarella, ovalini mozzarella, bacon, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach.
Qdoba’s Smoked Brisket Keto Bowl
In August 2019, Qdoba rolled out its own line of bowls, including the Smoked Brisket Keto Bowl. The bowl features smoked brisket, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and shredded cheese.
Smoothie King’s Keto Champ Smoothies
- Smoothie King
Smoothie King launched a line of keto diet-approved smoothies on August 20, 2019, using high-fat, high-protein ingredients like almond butter, cocoa, and almond milk.
The two blends are Keto Champ Berry, made with blueberries, raspberries, and almond butter, and Keto Champ Coffee, which features almond milk, cold brew, and cocoa. Both smoothies contain Smoothie King’s keto protein blend.
“Guests are seeking smoothie options to meet a variety of dietary needs – particularly, we’re seeing an increase in lifestyles that limit carbohydrate intake,” Smoothie King chief marketing officer Rebecca Miller said in a statement.
BurgerIM’s Keto Burger
BurgerIM launched what it called the first Keto Burger in October 2019, partnering with Unbun Foods on a low-carb bun.
The burger is available at all BurgerIM locations nationwide. It contains two patties, two slices of cheese, toppings of choice, and Unbun’s Keto Bun.
El Pollo Loco’s Pollo Fit Bowls
- Courtesy of El Pollo Loco
On December 27, El Pollo Loco added three new bowls to its menu, including two keto-approved bowls and one paleo-friendly bowl.
The two keto-certified bowls are the Double Chicken and Avocado bowl and the Double Chicken and Queso Fresco bowl. They are available at all El Pollo Loco restaurant locations.
“This is only the beginning for our growing better-for-you menu,” Hector Muñoz, El Pollo Loco’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “[We] look forward to debuting additional offerings customized for varying lifestyles in 2020.”