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First Watch is one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in America. It is the go-to place for a fresh and healthy Sunday brunch. But what’s keto-friendly at First Watch?
The chain offers healthy made-to-order dishes with the freshest ingredients like cage-free eggs, avocadoes, tomatoes, and more.
As of 2021, the brand operates in over 300 locations spread across 26 states.
Since they are all about fresh food, you won’t find a single heat lamp or a deep fat fryer in the kitchen! It’s not a “fast-food” place and they prepare each order from scratch.
If you are on a low-carb diet, First Watch has a lot to offer. You can always go with the keto basics i.e. eggs, meat, and cheese – they never disappoint!
But luckily, there’s a lot more in store for you. First Watch has plenty of low-carb options if you make the right customizations.
We will go through each of them in this article so that you can OWN your keto order like a Boss!
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What does “First Watch” mean anyway?
The name of the restaurant comes from the world of sailors and pirates. It refers to the very first shift of the day. Similarly, the First Watch restaurants are only open till the first half of the day i.e. up to 2.30 pm sharp.
The company has been lurking in the background for the past 35 years, but only recently did it start expanding rapidly. Combine it with the surge in health-aware people, and you have a massive hit of a restaurant!
First Watch is a breakfast restaurant chain that caters to a wide variety of audiences. These include people with all kinds of food allergies, dietary restrictions, and specific diets like paleo, Whole30, or our beloved ketogenic diets.
In fact, it was awarded the Best Food Allergy Champion for Restaurants in 2019 by the leading industry expert.
First Watch has a diverse menu that includes both the traditional American breakfast and an unconventional, healthier take on recipes.
For example, you can surely find classic items pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and gravy. But on the other hand, they also have salads and power bowls loaded with superfoods to supercharge your day.
The chain keeps experimenting with seasonal dishes that often turn out to be a massive hit. For example, at the time of writing this article, we are totally in awe of the Million Dollar Bacon (baked with brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and topped with maple syrup).
But don’t be too attached to the seasonal items as they are always changing!
Have you ever been to a restaurant and really wanted to steal the recipe? Well, things just got easier at First Watch! You can now buy their official cookbook and replicate their recipes from scratch. It covers the majority of their menu while they have kept some “proprietary” recipes to themselves.
First Watch has a strong focus on specialty diets. And their nutrition guide is one of the best I’ve ever come across. It perfectly lays out all the ingredients in each menu item so that we can plan our order well in advance.
First Watch has a lot of egg-based dishes that are extremely keto-friendly. Simply avoid the bread and the preserves and you are good to go.
For example, the Ham and Gruyere omelet has a whopping 58 grams of carbs. But if you just toss out the toast and the preserves, you are left with a satisfying keto-friendly meal for just 8g of carbs.
The same goes for those delicious sandwiches.
Consider the Roast Beef & Havarti sandwich – It has Roast beef, Horseradish Havarti, house-roasted onions, and tomato with lemon-dressed arugula on grilled sourdough, and Horseradish sauce on the side.
The whole package comes for 66 grams of carbs, which is almost thrice your daily carb quota!
But if you simply give up that crusted sourdough (I know it’s hard!), it comes down to 16g of carbs. And the keto gods won’t be disappointed.
The best part about First Watch is that it’s very open to customizations. You can get your sandwich in a bowl or simply ask for a lettuce wrap instead.
When it comes to their salads and power bowls, the default options have too many carbs. They are polluted with tortilla strips, toast, sugary dressings, and whatnot.
There are two possible workarounds in this situation. If you have got ample time, the best strategy is to request a customized salad with your favorite low-carb meats and veggies. They would be happy to comply.
But if you are in a hurry, just pick a salad from their menu and eliminate the “bad” stuff like the toast, corn, or the black beans.
ALSO READ: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen Keto-Friendly Options
First things first, if you have plenty of time I highly recommend that you curate your own order.
I agree – First Watch isn’t really a “build your own bowl” place. But they have always attended to my requests with a smile on their face.
Just don’t try this at a busy hour, because you don’t want to piss off the queue behind you. Even if you go for it, make sure you have it all planned beforehand.
Choose from the following low-carb ingredients at First Watch:
Veggies & Toppings:
Well, you won’t always get to build your own keto plate from scratch. For times like these, you should know which menu items to pick and how to turn them keto-friendly.
So these are the low-carb menu items at First Watch:
Cut out: Potatoes, Preserves & Toast
The dish includes:
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: First Watch’s Gluten-Free Options
Without the toast, this dish contains:
Ditch the whole-grain toast and the housemade preserves.
Ditch the ciabatta bread and you are left with:
Eliminate: Toast, Preserves, Fruit & Potatoes
You are left with:
Cut out: Potatoes, Fruit, Toast & Preserves
You are left with:
Ditch the Quinoa and you’ll be left with:
Just cut out the Toast and Preserves and you are good to go!
The dish includes:
You now have a fair idea of what to order on keto at First Watch.
I highly recommend you plan your meals in advance so that you don’t fall for last-minute temptations!
First Watch doesn’t reveal the actual fiber content in its meals. So consider the total carbs as the net carbs only.
However, there’s one more macro that you should care about on keto i.e. the protein.
We all know that keto is a high-fat low-carb diet. But you must remember that it is also a moderate-protein diet.
Consuming a protein-rich diet on keto can sometimes backfire. The excess protein can turn into glucose through a bodily process called gluconeogenesis. In short, all that extra protein will start acting like carbs and might even throw you out of ketosis.
First Watch’s menu has a lot of eggs, and hence, a lot of protein!
The keto diet recommends 10-20% calories coming from proteins. For a 2000-calorie diet, this roughly translates to about 75 grams of protein per day.
Just keep a track of your macros and you are good to go.
First Watch has a wide range of keto-friendly options for the low-carb diet. You can experiment with different styles of meat and omelets along with high-fat cheese.
Simply avoid all bread, fruits, potatoes, sugary sauces, and preserves.
The best part about First Watch is that it’s only open till 2.30 in the noon. Statistics show that most people cheat on their diets when hanging out in the evening or at dinner time. So that won’t be a possibility a First Watch!
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