It is entirely possible to enjoy delicious, amazing food while you are eating out and still lose weight with these awesome tips for eating out on Ketogenic Diet. Despite popular opinion, eating out while living a low carb Keto lifestyle doesn’t have to be painful and you don’t have to feel guilty when enjoying your meals.
Whether you travel a lot or enjoy eating out infrequently, it’s easy to be caught off-guard, which can lead to carb overload. By planning ahead and making thoughtful choices, you can find low-carb options at any restaurant.
35 Tips To Eat Out On A Low-carb Keto Diet
1. Don’t Feel Imprisoned
The main rules of low carb eating are no starches and no sugars; so as long as you can control this, you’re fine. Come to think of it, you still have unlimited options to go for. So, don’t feel restricted rather look forward to eating out. Just make sure you avoid sugars and carbs.
2. Count the Carbs
The best way to ensure that you don’t pick up excess carbs is to know what you are eating and what is it’s carb content. Download apps such as Calorie, Carb & Fat Counter or Daily Carb to keep count your carbs. These apps are really handy and easy to use and provide details about every food you eat.
3. Avoid Weak Spots
If you find it difficult to forego your favorite foods or cuisine, then avoid places where you’ll likely find restaurants serving such food. If you have a favorite restaurant and just the sight of it brings water to your mouth, then you need to avoid the location immediately.
Avoid such weak spots at least until you are settled into the Keto lifestyle. Choose other places and restaurants to avoid temptations.
4. Reaffirm Your Goals
Before you even head out to eat, it’s a good idea to reaffirm your goals to stay motivated and to avoid temptation. An easy rule to remember is ‘Avoid GPS’ – grains, potatoes and sugars. Don’t put these on your plate.
5. Fill Up Before You Eat Up
Never got to a restaurant when you’re famished. By eating when you’re desperately hungry, not only do you increase the possibility of going off-plan, but you also risk over-eating.
As the size of your meal increases, so does your risk of rebound hunger. If you’re finding this is a common issue, try eating multiple mini-meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day instead of 3 concentrated meals.
6. Do Your Research
Driven by the high popularity of low carb diets, many restaurants are now adding calorie count, heart healthy and other labels to their menu items and this includes low carb.
Do your own research prior to going out and find restaurants that do this in your area, and pick your dishes accordingly.
7. Pre-peruse the Menu
Before you even leave the house, you can give yourself a head start by previewing the restaurant or cafes’ menu online. By familiarizing yourself with the menu, you can mentally note which dishes are healthy and avoid making an uninformed, unhealthy, and impulsive decision.
8. Avoid Negative People
People can really be unpredictable, sometimes there are those who just don’t understand what you are doing, and why you are doing it, and sometimes they just don’t like themselves and project that on you by being critical of your weight loss efforts.
This type of criticism and negativity is not only annoying and unwelcome it can easily detract you from sticking with your plan, make you feel embarrassed and ashamed, and at worst may prevent you from meeting your long-term goals.
So, if uncle Bob or your friend Sally is knocking your lettuce wrapped burger or burrito bowl, stop going out with them and choose supportive dining partners instead.
9. Don’t Hide From Healthy Fats
Attempting to cut out any food from your diet without replacing it is a short cut to failure and it is no different with carbs.
By replacing carbs with healthy fat, you are not only keeping your appetite at bay but also providing your body with energy so you can continue with your diet.
This means you can put a dab of real butter on your steak or eggs. If you are going for salads do ask for extra olive oil and vinegar.
10. Go Breadless
Bread is a big no-no in Keto. But, most restaurants serve their dishes with either bread as base or sides, especially with burgers and sandwiches.
To avoid eating bread, ask for extra servings of lettuce and then replace the breads with lettuce leaves. If lettuce is not available, just give up the bread and eat the fillings.
11. French Fries Alternatives
Your restaurant may offer baked carrot sticks, so find out. If not, you can get yourself a lettuce wrapped burger, and then ask for a couple of slices of extra crispy bacon on the side, with the crunch of the bacon, you will never miss the fries.
12. You CAN Win Friends With Salad
We know from fruit juice that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy and you should be mindful of your salad ingredients for this reason.
Always ask what is included in the salad, and avoid beans, corn, or other starches. Don’t order those that come in a shell, and ask that croutons and tortilla strips be removed.
Real bacon bits are fine, as is cheese on your salad. Ask for dressing on the side so you can control your intake, especially with creamy dressings that include some carbs. Any included meat should be grilled and never breaded or fried.
13. Choose Low Carb Sides
If your entrée includes high carb sides such as pasta, rice, or fries, ask if you can substitute it for low carb options such as, vegetables like broccoli, asparagus or a salad.
Restaurants will almost always be happy to accommodate you. No matter what, ask that they not put any starches on your plate to avoid temptation.
Everyone loves pizza, but most of the bad carbs are in the crust, not the sauce and toppings. So, leave the crust on your plate, grab a fork, eat up the toppings, and enjoy!
15. Control Your Appetite And You Control Temptation
You can give yourself an edge to avoid the temptation of all the high carb menu items by snacking on something healthy before you head out. This will help you avoid overeating and making unhealthy choices. Choose something that’s healthy and filling but that won’t completely ruin your appetite like a few nuts or avocado slices.
16. Don’t Desert Your Dessert
Craving something sweet to finish off your meal? Don’t ruin all your hard work by ordering some flour, sugar, and fat filled disaster.
Instead, if you dinner-mate has ordered dessert, take one bite of theirs or even better, order some fresh berries, like raspberries and a dollop of fresh cream for a very low carb dessert option, it’s really all you need to get rid of that sweet-tooth craving.
17. Choose Drinks With Care
Soft drinks and alcohol are heavy in carbs, so choose low carb alternatives such as tea, sugar free coffee, water, and sparkling water. If you must drink alcohol then some low carb options are dry wine, and pure spirits (straight or with club soda).
18. Choose Only Grilled Meats
Avoid anything fried and choose only grilled chicken, fish and steak.
19. Stick With Old-Fashioned Favorites
There really is no substitute for real food. Often the best option is a simple meat and non-starchy vegetables combination, especially if the restaurant offers organic and grass-fed meats.
If you don’t eat red meat or want a leaner option, go for the chicken, seafood or fish instead.
20. Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Often people don’t realize how limited their cuisine is until they travel overseas. Various other cultures offer a variety of low-carb, healthy snacks, and meal options like dried anchovies and kelp chips and food prepared in coconut oil.
21. Water Water Everywhere
Water has some great benefits besides being obviously calorie free. Drinking water before a meal or on an empty stomach helps fill you up.
Drinking 2 glasses upon waking washes out your renal system and hydrates your alimentary canal. Drinking 8 glasses a day helps prevent constipation.
22. A Variation On Pasta Dishes
When it comes to pasta, you’d be hard pressed to find a more carbohydrate rich food, which is why many people can’t pass it up.
When you eat pasta by itself, you also realize how tasteless it really is without any sauce. People don’t love pasta, they love pasta sauce.
Get all the flavor of your favorite Italian meal by pouring that sauce on your meat and veggies instead. This works with marinara and Alfredo, which tastes great over chicken and broccoli without the pasta.
23. More Fun With Pasta
Check the menu for a spiral cut zucchini pasta, many restaurants have joined the spiral vegetable revolution allowing you to enjoy your favorite pasta dishes the low carb way.
If Sushi is one of your favorite go-to meals, you can still enjoy it, but without the rice. Get your cut rolls without rice, and order hand rolls without rice instead; another good option is to add cucumber to those rolls instead.
Sashimi platters are good choices or you can simply order from the many sushi salads that include fresh fish over a bed of greens; spicy tuna salad is a great choice.
25. Get Saucy
Sauces can be a real mixed bag. Tomato sauce for example contains mostly carbs while Béarnaise is mostly fat. If you’re unsure then just ask your waiter about the ingredients and avoid the sauce if it contains flour or sugar.
Another option is to ask for the sauce on the side so you can control how much is added to your meal.
26. Oil Be Back
You may not have noticed it but sometimes restaurants will drizzle your meal with cheaper vegetable oils instead of using olive oil. This is a less healthy choice and vegetable oil is also full of omega 6 fats.
You can get around this by taking a small concealable bottle of olive oil with you.
27. Breaking The Fast
To a eat healthy breakfast, eggs are really your best friend and the variety of dishes created with them are limitless.
Foods to avoid in your breakfast order are oatmeal, hash browns, waffles, pancakes, and toast.
You can have steak and eggs, omelets with filled with cheese, veggies, and meats, and the classic bacon or sausage and egg dish is always great.
28. The Mexican Fiesta
Mexican dishes are typically a high carb disaster, but there are low carb variations. Burrito fillings can be eaten without a tortilla, just ask for the insides bowl style and use your fork, be sure to ask for no beans, or rice.
Tacos can be wrapped in a leaf of lettuce instead of a tortilla.
You can enjoy that salsa with sliced cucumbers or other sliced vegetables instead of the high carb chips.
One of the most healthy low carb options in an authentic Mexican joint is the shrimp cocktail or ceviche. Guacamole (sans the chips) is your healthy fat.
29. The Appetizer Buffet
You can create yourself a low carb mini buffet by ordering a dinner salad and a couple of low carb appetizers, like stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail or ahi tartare.
30. Eliminate The Bread Basket
As soon as you sit down, ask the server to no bring any bread to the table. This helps avoid temptation.
31. A Better Coffee Treat
Your favorite coffee house Frappuccino and blends are loaded with sugar. Instead, get a regular coffee, add half and half and some artificial sweetener and you have a low carb sweet treat.
32. Soup Ideas
Soup can be very low carb, but choose those without rice, noodles, corn or potatoes. Cream soups can be good, such as Cream of Broccoli.
Don’t be shy about asking the server for a complete list of ingredients.
33. Chili Issues
Chili is great except for the beans; sometimes you can get lucky and find a spot that serves really good chili without any beans.
34. Be Assertive
Never shy away from asking for variations and preparation of your food the way you want it.
Restaurants who love and appreciate their customers will comply with anything they possibly can, and you should never let shyness or a lack of assertiveness keep you from enjoying dining the low carb way!
35. Stay On Track
Monitor your success with eating out as you progress, if more often than not you stray from your low carb plan when at restaurants, then just avoid them for a while or limit going out to eat.
In the end, the most important thing is that you properly acclimate to your new way of eating, and if restaurants interfere with this, then so be it, they will be still be there when you reach your goals, or are able to resist temptation.
You can still enjoy socializing with friends and family by inviting them over to your home instead of going out, where you can control the menu.
Stay well and best wishes for your ongoing success!