Eating out can be a challenge on any kind of diet, including Keto. Given the emphasis on carbohydrates in many popular cuisines, it may require vigilance and good communication with the server to ensure you stick with the Keto plan when you dine out. It is a good idea to have a look at the menu online before going to a restaurant and review the dos and don’ts of the Keto diet. In addition, you will want to study the carbohydrate levels of various and vegetables and visualize portions so you can be sure you are hitting your macros at the right level. A bit of preparation and care can ensure you will stay in ketosis no matter where you want to enjoy a meal outside the home.
Look out for Starches and Sides
Many restaurants like to serve starchy side dishes to meat, fish and poultry entrees. You may order a steak with an option to have a side of potatoes, rice or noodles.
These should be avoided, even sweet potatoes which have a high starch content. Instead, ask the waiter if you can have an extra serving of salad or a low-carb
vegetables such as green beans with your meat dish. Many restaurants have bread and butter on the table, but you should leave the bread alone and take the packet of butter to add to your other food. The same goes for tortilla chips that are often on the tables at Mexican restaurants. You should be careful of sweet sauces and
ketchup, which contain sugars and other carbohydrates.
What Entrees to Eat
You can’t go wrong with a steak, chicken or fish on the Keto diet. As long as you find a low-carb replacement for the starchy side you are fine. Dairy may be more
of a problem, because in restaurants, cheese is usually combined with some form of heavy carb food, such as pasta or breading on fried cheese. If you want to eat
cheese, the best option may be a chef’s salad, but be careful of croutons and high-carb additions. Since leafy greens are low-carb, a salad with cheese may be a
good option, and there may be a few tomatoes and a bit of cabbage, which are vegetables allowed on the Keto diet in moderation. If you go to a diner, you can
feel safe ordering a cheese omelet or fried eggs. Try eggs benedict with a creamy Hollandaise sauce, although make sure it is not served over an English muffin or
any other type of baked item.
Sauces and Condiments
Sauces can make or break the Keto diet if you know what to look for and what to avoid. You should steer clear of ketchup, siracha, barbecue sauce, teriyaki and
balsamic vinegar. Before your server brings you the food, ask what sauces are included with the food and request replacements as necessary. There are some
additions you not only don’t want to avoid, but should ask the server to provide more of. These include butter, oil, cheese sauces and creamy dressings. You can
request for some extra on the side. Since protein consumption should be exceeded with fats on Keto, make sure the meats you are served are fattier cuts and have
What Types of Restaurants Are Best for Keto?
You can eat virtually anywhere if you are on the Keto diet if you know what to look for and what to avoid. Bakeries are obviously an exception. The best type of
restaurants for those on the Keto diet are steakhouses. You can probably order just about any entree on the menu, but watch those sides and ask for replacements as
necessary. Mediterranean restaurants will often have at least one fish or chicken dish that is low in carbohydrates. Italian restaurants have a lot of pasta and sauce,
neither of which is allowed on the Keto diet, but higher-end Italian restaurants have entrees apart from pasta, such as chicken parmesan and other items.
Asian restaurants may be a concern because of the prevalence of rice. However, the rice is often served on the side and you can tell the server not to bring it at all.
You can order a chicken or beef with low-carbohydrate vegetables. One advantage of Chinese and Japanese restaurants is they tend not to feature high-starch
vegetables, such as potatoes and squash. Instead of sushi, you can opt for sashimi, which is just the raw fish without the rice. Indian restaurants can pose a challenge,
because many of the dishes include rice, potatoes and legumes, but tandoori chicken with a yogurt sauce can be a great keto option. Mexican dishes are heavy
in fats, cheese and meats and are usually good for Keto.. Avoid beans, but add on plenty of guacamole and sour cream.
Beverages and Desserts
When it comes to desserts, the options are usually pretty limited. Many people on keto with a sweet tooth have to opt for making their desserts at home with stevia
and other sweeteners. Many fruits contain too many carbohydrates and natural sugars for Keto, but you can choose berries and cream as long as there is no added
sugar. You should also avoid fruit juices for the same reason. One exemption may be lemonade as long as you can ask for freshly squeezed lemons and add your own
stevia. One option instead of regular dessert is a cheese plate, but avoid apples, pears and crackers that often come with it. Beer, liqueurs and cocktails are usually not Keto-friendly because they may contain grains, sugars and added colors or flavors. Dessert wines often have too much sugar, so if you are going to drink wine, stick with dry wine. However, a better option is hard liquor which contains fewer carbohydrates than most beverages. You may also have diet cola, but keep these drinks to a minimum, since too many artificial sweeteners can throw off your system. You need not turn down invitations to eat out in a restaurant just because you are on the Keto diet. It can be relatively easy to adhere to your Keto diet while eating out, depending on the kind of restaurant you choose. In general, sticking to meat and seafood restaurants can be more Keto friendly than places that focus on pasta and noodles.