Captain D’s is an American fast-food restaurant famous for its seafood. It’s a delight for fitness lovers because they offer inexpensive grilled seafood along with healthy sides like broccoli, green beans, etc.
But can you survive keto at Captain D’s?
Founded in 1969, the chain today operates in over 500 locations in the U.S. For the uninitiated, Captain D’s is a lot similar to Long John Silver (but even better in my opinion.)
Their coleslaw is one of the best I’ve ever tasted! Pair it with your favorite fish and you’ll surely enter a food trance.
If you are on a ketogenic diet, their menu can seem quite overwhelming. The majority of the items are batter-dipped or smothered with breading.
So should you just sit there and watch your friends devour those butterfly shrimps?
This article is your guide to all things Keto at Captain D’s. We will look at delicious seafood that is also low in carbs!
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Is Captain D’s Keto-Friendly?
The most keto-friendly option at Captain D’s is the grilled meals section. It contains seafood in its pure form without any breading or batter-dipping. For example, each skewer of grilled shrimp contains just 1g of carbs.
The keto diet limits you to a daily limit of 20g net carbs. That makes the grilled seafood quite a lucrative option.
All entrées at Captain D’s are served on a bed of rice, along with your choice of two sides. What’s more, you also get a complimentary breadstick with each grilled meal.
Unfortunately, rice and a breadstick are the last things you want to consume on keto. So these are straight-away to be eliminated.
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But the good news is that they have multiple keto-friendly sides on the menu!
Here’s a list along with their net carbs count:
- Broccoli: 4g
- Green Beans: 3g
- Side Salad (no dressings): 2g
- Green Beans: 3g
Now you may think that seafood is generally low-carb (which is true!). But the problem begins when you start dipping it in carb-laden batters.
For example, one serving of 2 Piece Fish & Chicken contains a whopping 45 grams of carbs. And that’s excluding the sides and hush puppies.
According to the website copykat.com, Captain D’s batter is majorly made of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. That’s why that crispy layer isn’t so keto-friendly.
Let’s talk about their hush puppy. It is a scoop of batter that is deep-fried until golden crisp. I admit that it’s the sole reason why I got hooked to Captain D’s in the first place.
Sadly, it is just too many carbs packed in one little crunchy ball (9g to be precise).
But hey, there are no hard and fast rules on the keto diet. Always stick to the IIFYM strategy when dining out on keto.
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The IIFYM Rule
IIFYM is an acronym for “If it fits your macros”. In a nutshell, it means you can have anything you want as long as it is within your carbs limits.
Think of your carb budget as any other monetary budget. If you only had $20 each day, would you rather spend it on 2 hush puppies or have a wholesome meal like Blackened Tilapia along with nutritious sides?
I hope it’s the latter!
But luckily, there’s a third route that is much more rewarding and pleasing to the keto gods.
Have a single hush puppy with your favorite grilled meal and throw in some broccoli. That’s how you balance taste with carbs.
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My Favorite Captain D’s KETO Order
I have loved Captain D’s ever since my college days. However, I’ve had to adjust my choices over time as I sunk deeper into the low-carb lifestyle.
The Captain D’s nearest to my home is still 20 miles away. That means I don’t get a lot of chances to experiment. So I always stick to my favorite order:
- Lemon Pepper White Fish
- Wild Alaskon Salmon
- Broccoli on the side
- Ranch & Tartar sauce
- A Large Diet Dr. Pepper
The nutrition for this order comes out to be:
- Calories: 700
- Fats: 42g
- Carbs: 10g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 57g
- Net Carbs: 7g
As you can see, it’s a pretty balanced meal with 1/3rd net carbs of my daily budget.
I am someone who just loves eating out and it’s an essential part of my social life. So I try to be as practical as possible and always keep a track of my macros.
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However, I’m only human, and sometimes those hush puppies can be really tempting! But I always stick to a single serving no matter what. It takes my total net carbs 16-17 grams.
Warning: Trust me, those crispy balls are really addictive and you might end up overeating!
Also, I only take one pair of sides instead of two (one with each entree). You can add a single shrimp skewer for just 1g net carbs each.
And for beverages, stick to water, unsweet tea, coffee, and diet soda.
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Captain D’s Carb Guide
Below you’ll find the exact number of net carbs present in each offering from Captain D’s. (We have gathered this data from their official nutrition guide.)
Grilled Meals (no sides or hush puppies):
|Grilled White Fish & Shrimp Skewer||3|
|Lemon Pepper White Fish||1|
|Wild Alaskan Salmon||2|
Fish (no sides or hush puppies)
|Southern-Style White Fish Fillet||26|
|Southern-Style Fish Tenders||4|
Family Meals (no sides or hushpuppies):
|14 Pc Chicken Family Meal||150|
|Fish & Chicken Tenders Family Meal||146|
Salads & Sandwiches (excluding dressings and breadsticks):
|Grilled Tilapia Salad||9|
|Skewer Shrimp Salad||10|
|Southern Style Breaded Chicken Salad||20|
|The Captain Sandwich||82|
|The Giant Fish Sandwich||59|
|Wild Alaskan Salmon Salad||10|
Variety Meals (no sides or hush puppies):
|15 Pc Butterfly Shrimp||58|
|2 Pc Fish & Chicken||45|
|4 Pc Chicken||45|
|Deluxe Seafood Platter||67|
|Fish & Shrimp||45|
|White Fish, Shrimp & Crab||52|
|Cocktail Sauce (1 serving)||3|
|D’s Dippin’ Sauce (1 serving)||3|
|Fat-free Italian Dressing (1 pouch)||2|
|Ketchup (1 oz)||9|
|Honey Mustard Dressing||4|
|Ranch Dressing (1 pouch)||1|
|Sweet & Sour Sauce (1 serving)||10|
|Tartar Sauce (1 serving)||2|
|Thousand Island Dressing (1 pouch)||5|
Sides & Add-Ons:
|1 Pc Batter Dipped Fish||11|
|2 Pc Chicken||23|
|6 Pc Butterfly Shrimp||23|
|Cracklins (1 oz)||7|
|Grilled Shrimp Skewer||1|
|Mac & Cheese||18|
|Side Salad (no dressing)||2|
So what’s keto-friendly at Captain D’s?
Their grilled meals are one of the best low-carb options you can feast on. Make sure you nix the rice/ breadsticks and choose sides like salad, broccoli, or green beans.
You have to be really careful because the majority of the items are either breaded or batter-dipped.
Follow the IIFYM approach and enjoy your favorite foods without triggering your carb limit on keto.