Going out tonight? Wonderful! This guide will help you eat out and maintain your low-carb lifestyle. Get ready for delicious food — anywhere! Whether you are celebrating a meal out with friends, grabbing a quick lunch near the office or having dinner at your in-laws’ home, we have ideas for how to keep it keto or low-carb. As long as you are committed to the diet, it’s pretty easy to know what to eat for the keto diet.
Low-carb eating works anywhere. Here are seven awesome tips:
Most restaurants now have their menu available online. If you are new to keto and concerned about navigating the menu, why not take a peek at home before you go? Scan the menu for keto-friendly options that are likely to be sugar-free and delicious. Once you get to the restaurant, careful ordering can customize the dish so it is perfect for your keto or low-carb regimen.
Eliminate the starch
Bounce the bread. Pass on the pasta. Purge the potatoes. Refuse the rice. Keep temptation off your plate by ordering your meal without the starchy sides.
If ordering an entrée, most restaurants will substitute a salad or extra veggies for the starch.
If ordering a sandwich or burger, most restaurants will substitute lettuce wraps for the bun.
If they will not substitute, simply eliminate the unwanted item, regardless.
If, in spite of careful ordering, your plate arrives with a starchy side, consider your options. If you are certain you can leave it there, untouched, feel free. If you will be tempted to eat some of it, immediately ask the waiter to replate the meal without the starch. If you are at a more casual place, take care of the unwanted food yourself by discarding the unwanted carbs in the trash before you dig into your meal.
If you feel you must explain yourself (to the waiter or your fellow diners), simply suggest stomach issues, food allergies or a restrictive diet. Although most of us want to fit in, health comes first. Always trust your judgement about a dish rather than caving-in to pressure from your dinner companions.
Add healthy fat
Restaurant meals can be low in fat, making it hard to feel satisfied without eating carbs. But this problem can be resolved by adding fat to a standard offering:
Ask for extra butter and melt it on veggies or meat.
Ask for olive oil and vinegar dressing and drizzle the oil liberally on salads and your meal.
Some restaurants serve cheaper vegetable oils (full of omega-6 fatty acids) rather than olive oil. This is not as healthy, unfortunately. To avoid this many seasoned low-carb eaters carry a small bottle of olive oil with them.
Ask for heavy cream for your coffee or tea.
Keep an eye on sauces and condiments
Some sauces, like Béarnaise sauce, contain mostly fat. Others, like ketchup, contain mostly carbs. Gravies can go either way.
If you are unsure about the sauce, ask about the ingredients and avoid it if it contains sugar, flour, or other starchy thickeners. You can also ask for the sauce on the side so you can decide how much to add to your meal.
Choose drinks with care
Perfect drinks are water, sparkling water, tea, or coffee.
If you chose to add an alcoholic beverage, champagne, dry wine, light beer, or spirits — straight or with club soda — are all great low-carb choices. For more details, check out our low-carb and keto alcohol guides.
Are you really still hungry? If not, preferably enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea while you wait for others to finish their sweets. Perhaps you don’t want to drink coffee because it’s late? Good thinking — ask for decaf coffee or herbal tea instead.
If you are hungry and need more food, look for a cheese plate or berries with heavy cream. Sometimes just cream or butter in your coffee is enough to satisfy.
Get creative if necessary
If nothing on the menu seems to work for you, feel free to improvise.
What about the Spaghetti Bolognese item – could the restaurant serve just the sauce in a bowl, like soup, with a large serving of sautéed green veggies on the side? Both would be perfect sprinkled with Parmesan cheese!
Or, might you order two or three appetizers? A salad paired with shrimp cocktail and a cheese plate makes a delicious low-carb dinner.
Just ask! You’re the customer, and customers should get the meal that they desire, within reason. One line I like to use is: ” I have to watch my sugars.” That way it does not seem like your are that picky diet customer.
Fast food ideas and examples
Dining out especially at fast food joints could seem a bit daunting, but you have options that you may not realize you had. I will run through some of the more common places, and what is available for you.
McDonalds / Burger King
Both McDonald’s and Burger King offer items that can be made low carb at a cheap price, you can ask for a breakfast sandwich at either restaurant and order without the bun the same goes for a grilled chicken breast or burger for lunch or dinner.
My personal favorite is the McDouble from McDonald’s Value Menu, just forget the bun and the ketchup, very tasty and keto-friendly at only 4g carbs.
KFC is a great place to stop for a meal, each serving of their grilled chicken is either only 0 or 1g of carbs. Order a few pieces of grilled chicken is super simple and super quick.
Just remember to skip most of the sides and ketchup, but if you must have one, order an individual serving of green beans which is only 2g net carbs. If you prefer a salad, order without dressing and it will only be around 2g of carbs
You may be able to order just the side dishes, the chicken, beef, lettuce and guacamole come in cheap and the number of carbs is pretty decent also.
Many gas stations offer eggs, deli meat and string cheeses which can be a viable option, also if they sell a breakfast sandwich, just discard the bun and you will be left with tasty sausage, egg, and cheese. Pork rinds are an awesome snack option at 0 grams of carbs
Their double stack order without a bun comes in at 4g carbs, it is also easy on the wallet, they also have the ultimate chicken grill sandwich which is 5g carbs without the bun.
If you are lucky to live close to these guys, they will supply a burger without a bun, but instead of a bun, they will supply it in a lettuce wrap. Just swap the house spread and replace it with mustard and extra pickles.
Fancy Mexican? For spicy food, this is probably your best bet, just order the burrito bowl without rice, or they have a wonderful salad available. They do have a specific keto bowl now, and it’s amazing!
The meat, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa costs extra, but it can be worth the little extra to be satisfied with some wholesome food without any fear of overstepping your carb mark.
All of their sandwiches can be ordered without bread or tortilla which is replaced by a lettuce wrap, as you can order online you are able to check your carbs as you go.
Five Guys Burger and Fries
These guys will supply your burger without a bun and without any hassle. They will supply a lettuce wrap or you can take it to go in an aluminum tray. You can also pick your toppings from their menu board.
They also give extra cheese and extra bacon at no extra charge, if you find yourself dining in, they also have peanuts in the shell which you can nibble on while waiting for your burger.
Author: Monica Perry
I’m a metabolic magician, nutrition nerd, exercise expert, and motivation master. I help women get fit quickly with the most food and least exercise.
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