We love Dairy Queen, and who doesn't?
With more than 4000 locations in the US alone, the fast food franchise is one of the leading restaurants in the country. (1)
This restaurant has appeared in many movies, and the items on they menu are indeed very tasty. So, it won't be a surprise if you find yourself there with friends on your way home from work.
But we understand that it can be very inconvenient when you're on low carbs and nothing on the menu really looks convincing.
Have no fear! We are here for you.
The purpose of this guide is to walk you through making order at Dairy Queen on a low carb diet without depleting your carbs limit for the day.
It's not going to be easy. Don't be afraid though.
We have a formula for it already. But you won't learn it by just reading the introduction.
So, if you don't mind, let's get started!
How To Order Low Carb at Dairy Queen
We can't stress this enough, but fast-food restaurants will never be substitutes for home-cooked meals. (2)
Even if you can see the ingredients, you can't be sure about their quality. So, you shouldn't make going there to eat a habit.
During those times, it is always good to know that you have options. Tips that can make you maximize your options are what we are going to be discussing in this section.
So, let's go!
Avoid combo meals
Combo meals are sweet deals. You get to buy food at a lesser amount than what they'd be separately but let's be sincere, you don't need the blizzard or fries that are part of it for any reason. In fact, you should be avoiding them instead. (4
The reason is because they contain an excessive amount of carbs that will quickly run through your carbs limit in a flash.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to remove temptation. This means you don't order it to begin with. Just go with the single burger. (5) This way, you'll find customizing your meal easier to do.
Make the drive-through your friend
The inside of a typical Dairy Queen restaurant is a tempting place.
There are cakes and ice cream on display and everything just says "pick me". The situation is worse if you have a sweet tooth.
Chances are, you'll most likely buy something you don't need. To avoid this, use the drive-through from the get-go.
Of course, there are some Dairy Queen restaurants with only a drive-through. Many of them have decent restaurants. It's always safer to steer clear of that area.
If you're on a ketogenic diet and you need something sweet to tide you over, there are several recipes you can explore. (6)
Those recipes are not used at Dairy Queen. Think of every dessert there as mountains of carbs that'll crush your hard work. (7)
Check out the nutrition information
Why do we love Dairy Queen? Because it's easy to see the nutritional information of whatever you're ordering.
You can even see the nutritional information of the individual ingredients in your meal. This makes customizing a low-carb meal at the restaurant a very easy thing to do.
Why do we love this?
Knowing the total amount of calories (8) you're eating won't help you make an informed decision. You won't know the individual nutrients in the meal. You won't even be able to tell which one is high and which one is low.
However, with the clear breakdown provided by Dairy Queen, you can track down to which ingredient has preservatives and which doesn't.
The nutrition information is on Dairy Queen's official website. (9)
Try to make your side dish a salad, even if you're going with a bun.
Salads have no carbs, and they contain nutrients that are capable of making you feel energized and happy (10). Not to mention, they are great supplements to keto or low carb diet.
But that's not all there is about them. They are great substitutes for fries. This means they are as tasty when taken with bunless burgers or any other meal.
At Dairy Queen, the salad option you can get contains ingredients such as tomatoes, lettuce, carrot, cabbage, cheese, bacon and chicken. As for the chicken, ask for a grilled one and not the crispy version.
One thing you should always pay attention to is the dressing. (11) Don't take it.
They contain carbs. Instead of the dressing that comes with the salad, take lemon slices or oil and vinegar.
Is There Anything Low-Carb at Dairy Queen?
Dairy Queen is a fast-food restaurant that's famous for its desserts.
So, no. You won't find anything low carb in the restaurant.
But, that doesn't mean you can't tweak something here and there to get a low carb or keto meal.
The truth is, if you're on a strict keto or low carb diet, you shouldn't make going to Dairy Queen a habit.
Even though the nutrition guide is pretty explicit, the brands of these ingredients such as ketchup or hot dog may differ. You can't tell what has preservatives and what does not. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal anytime.
If you have decided to tweak the menu a bit, the meals with the lowest carb counts are the salad without the dressing and a grilled chicken.
The bunless and sauceless cheeseburger is also a contender for the title of the low-carb meal. It also has the benefit of being tasty.
The last is the grilled chicken sandwich without the bun and the sauce. These three should be your go-to meals anytime.
Top 9 Low Carb Options at Dairy Queen
This means it is very simple. Normally it comes with buns, a half-pound beef patty, jalapenos, lettuce, cheese, tomato, bacon, jalapeno bacon and sauce.
Everything is curated specially for taste. However, left alone, it contains a lot of carbs. A single bite alone can kick you out of ketosis.
What then are you supposed to do?
The answer is simple. Remove all the ingredients with excess carbs. This includes the buns.
In any burger, the buns usually have around 30-57g of carbs, depending on the side. (12) This one is no different. Remove the buns, save your meal a lot of carbs.
Another thing you should watch out for is the sauce. They sometimes use ingredients that contain carbs in it. Even though the carbs content is always negligent, removing it is still a safer option.
Just like the flamethrower grill burger, the cheeseburger comes with a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mustard.
This is a traditional cheeseburger in every sense, it is also tasty. The ingredient you should avoid in this meal is the buns. Without it, the cheeseburger is just 3g.
If you would like to take a side dish with this meal, order the salad. Don't take the dressing and you'll have a tasty meal within your carbs limit.
This is also one of the most popular meals at Dairy Queen. The whole setup comes with turkey, lettuce, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato and mayo.
The Turkey BLT is really tasty, and the bacon makes it filling. It's great as a breakfast meal. Without the buns, it only contains 5 net carbs.
This amount makes it easy to fit into your keto or low-carb diet. To make the carbs count go lower, take out the mayo. But if you like a little more taste to your meal, you can keep it in.
Grilled Chicken BLT Salad
The salads at Dairy Queen have the lowest carbs in the restaurant. We like this one mainly because it is tasty and filling.
Of course, the chicken plays a part in this decision. We just love chicken, and who doesn't? What makes up the largest portion of the salad are cheese, bacon and chicken.
Without the dressing, the carbs amount just comes to 7g. With the dressing, it's 10g. You may want to remove this if you're on keto. Options you can get for the dressing are oil and vinegar.
Chicken Bacon Ranch
The ingredients in this meal are grilled chicken breast - which is great for keto, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce and ranch sauce.
All of them are very tasty, and when added together, they make a yummy meal. The carbs count comes to 5g and that's enough to order another plate on a low carb diet.
Snacks & Sides
The salad is the side dish with the least carbs in the whole restaurant. Every other one contains an excessive amount of the nutrient.
For example, the fries contain 24g of carbs. The side salad without the dressing contains 5g of carbs and the Chicken BLT Salad has a total of 7g of carbs.
What passes for ice cream at Dairy Queen is not exactly ice cream (13). It is actually 5% milkfat short of real ice cream, but they are still tasty.
They also have a lot of carbs. For example, the dreamsicle dipped cone has 84g worth of carbs. That's a whole lot of carbs.
If you're not on a strict low carbs diet and you crave something sweet, you can try out the vanilla cone for kids, it has just 27g of carbs.
Sandwiches are our personal favorites at Dairy Queen. But if you're on a keto or low-carb diet, we advise that you don't order them unless you've tweaked them a bit.
What does this mean?
The answer is simple! It means that you should have made some effort to get rid of the ingredients that are high in carbs from the meal beforehand.
So, for chicken bacon ranch sandwich, hold the ranch dressing and for Turkey BLT, hold the mayo. For all sandwiches, hold the bun and the sauce.
There are other snacks that you can tweak a little here and there to get a low-carb meal. They are;
- Buffalo Chicken Snack Melt: All you have to do is to ask for the buffalo sauce to be removed.
You should also leave out the tortilla shell and get rid of the ranch dressing. If you're feeling adventurous though, and your carbs limit has some room, you can leave the ranch dressing alone.
- Chicken BBQ Snack Melt: Same as the buffalo chicken snack melt. Toss the tortilla shell and ask for the sauce to be left out.
What Are the Healthiest Low Carb Options at Dairy Queen?
Keto is a diet that's super healthy for you. So, automatically, all meals that are keto compliant are healthy.
The first on the list of healthy low-carb options at Dairy Queen is the salad.
The plain salad contains vegetables that have vitamins and antioxidants. (14) These antioxidants are capable of keeping you in a good mood and helping your brain develop.
If the plain salad is not tasty enough for you, you can opt for the chicken version. Yes, we're talking about the grilled chicken BLT salad with just 10g of carbs, 11g of fat and 34g of protein.
The order of healthy meals are the burgers. Without the buns, their carbs levels come to 3-7g of carbs. The amount of protein and fat are unaffected though.
What Foods Should you Avoid on Keto at Dairy Queen
If you're going to eat at Dairy Queen, you should at least know what you'll be avoiding. Some of them are common in fast-food restaurants and some of them are peculiar to Dairy Queen.
For the ones that are peculiar to Dairy Queen, you'll want to stay away from cakes, milkshakes, ice creams and the sweetened beverages.
They contain lots of carbs, and the sugar contents are also very high. The combo deals are also a solid no, especially when they contain things you shouldn't eat because of carbs.
As for the general ones, stay away from the crispy chicken sandwich. Always ask for your chicken to be grilled because the fried one comes breaded.
You should also hold the sauce and the bun where the sandwich is concerned. Steer clear of the chicken strips, fries, onion rings, cheese curds and pretzel sticks.
Finally, we are here, and now that we are, we'd love to recap the things we've mentioned in this article.
The most important thing to note is that you can get a keto or low carb meal at Dairy Queen with the right knowledge.
We have provided you with some of the meals you can order but you can try to create your own. Just stay clear of the foods we've mentioned above.
Hopefully, you'll have as much fun eating at the restaurant as we did creating this guide. Have a nice meal!