“Sweetgreen’s easy,” you’re thinking, “It’s just a salad restaurant, it has to be keto,” you’re thinking. Well, that’s mostly true. It’s not hard to eat keto at Sweetgreen, but there are some giant carb crevasses you could fall into if you’re not careful. Here’s how to stay on keto while you’re eating at one of the trendiest healthy-eating fast-casual urban salad chains in the country.
With only 6 net carbs, Sweetgreen’s Kale Caesar salad packs 405 calories with Parmesan cheese, roasted chicken, and a “Caesar Dressing” which probably has more Parmesan cheese in it. It’s a great fast option for staying keto, and it’s a standard Sweetgreen menu item at all locations.
Don’t want the Kale Caesar, but don’t want to pick and choose from an gazillion-ingredient menu? Here are three keto-friendly salads to add to your Sweet Green arsenal:
1g net carbs, 520 calories
Mesclun mix, cilantro, walnuts, avocado, and Blackened Chicken thighs with lime-cilantro vinaigrette.
5g net carbs, 435 calories
Mesclun mix, spicy broccoli, toasted almonds, Roasted Steelhead (fish) with Miso Sesame Ginger Dressing.
Don’t like fish? Swap in Roasted Sesame Tofu, for a total 445 calories/ 7 net carbs
7g net carbs, 525 calories
Baby spinach with cucumbers, red onion, toasted almonds, blue cheese, hard boiled egg, and salami with extra virgin olive oil.
Below are the options you have at Sweetgreen for keto meals. Each ingredient below has 3 or fewer net carbs, with one exception (full kale order). Stick to 5 ingredients with 3 or fewer carbs if you’re aiming to stay under 15g net carb per meal, or just order the stuff you like from the 0 carb selections and go on with your day.
Choose any base except quinoa or wild rice.
If you’re getting close to your carb limit for the day, get the mesclun base, which has 0 net carbs. The heaviest net carb load for greens are for a full portion of kale (4 net carbs) and a full portion of romaine (3 net carbs). Numbers below are for full portions.
0g net carbs: Mesclun
1g net carbs: Arugula
2g net carbs: Romaine, baby spinach
4g net carbs: Kale
Sweetgreen has several tasty keto-friendly ingredient options. All of the following ingredients will give you three or fewer net carbs apiece in the serving sizes that Sweetgreen dishes out. For example, the lentils — normally a low carb no-no — are served in 55g servings, or roughly two ounces/ quarter cup.
0g net carbs: Basil, cilantro, walnuts
1g net carb: Cucumbers, red onion, shredded cabbage, spicy broccoli, toasted almonds, walnuts
2g net carbs: Organic carrots, spicy sunflower seeds, tomatoes
3g net carbs: Caramelized onions and leeks, lentils, raw beets,
The price-plus splurges for your very-special salad.
0g net carbs: Avocado, blackened chicken thighs, parmesan crisp, salami
1g net carbs: Blue cheese, pickled carrots and celery, hard boiled egg, feta cheese.
2g net carb: Roasted sesame tofu
3g net carbs: Warm portobello mix
The finishing touch.
0g net carbs: Crushed red pepper, extra virgin olive oil, Lime Cilantro vinaigrette,
1g net carbs: Caesar dressing, lemon squeeze, lime squeeze, Pesto vinaigrette, Sweetgreen hot sauce
2g net carbs: Balsamic vinegar, Cucumber Tahini Yogurt dressing
3g net carbs: Balsamic vinaigrette, Miso Sesame Ginger dressing
Sweetgreen’s Warm Bowls have lots of great keto ingredients like avocado, kale, goat cheese, and broccoli — and one terrible one: quinoa.
Yes, quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, but there’s a walloping 17g net carbs in a half cup of cooked quinoa. That’s more carbs than an ounce of 70% chocolate or 6 Hershey’s kisses. Do you really want to break your keto streak for quinoa? Quinoa? I didn’t think so.
A few Sweetgreen Warm Bowls have wild rice instead of quinoa, for a mere 16g net carbs per half cup. Don’t bother.
And after you finish your salad, you can order… nothing. Sweetgreen doesn’t offer dessert, so you don’t have to worry about being tempted by hemp seed kale doughnuts or whatever’s nutri-hip this month. Just relax at your Sweetgreen table and your well-nourished keto glow.