For many of us, eating out at sit down restaurants or fast food tends to turn into having a cheat meal. Prior to starting a ketogenic diet, I remember starting my restaurant meals with the best intentions, then succumbing to a carb-heavy meal by the end. Not only does it take a toll on the wallet, but on your macros, energy balance, and metabolism as well. Personally, one of my favorite parts of dining out on keto is that it’s so easy to maintain while on the road, or if you just happen to have a busy schedule that has you eating out frequently.
4 Tips for Dining Out on Keto
To keep it simple, here are a few key tips to follow when dining out on a ketogenic diet, no matter where you are:
1. Don’t Count Every Calorie
Understanding the macronutrient ratios, glycemic value, glycemic load, and energy balance from our meals is important, but too much precise data and measurements may not be sustainable and could potentially stunt adherence to the ketogenic lifestyle. It is important to remember to enjoy life and just your food until you feel full. If you are sticking to healthy fats, protein, and leafy green vegetables, you should have no problem staying in control of your portions.
2. Avoid Grains, Starches, and Most Fruits
This is an obvious point since you know that you need to limit carbs on the ketogenic diet. When dining out on keto, it can be tempting to add different toppings and sauces to your foods, but just remember that there are hidden carbohydrates in many of these dishes. For example, many sauces contain cornstarch or flour. It may not be a lot on its own, but if you smother your entire dish in the sauce, it could be enough to kick you out of ketosis.
3. Fats, Proteins, and Fibers
Stick to fat, protein, and fiber! That will keep you full and satiated, and prevent you from falling off the wagon and ordering a non-keto menu item (like dessert).
4. Get Creative with Your Order and Be Patient!
Be courageous and get creative with your order. At first, you may find yourself rummaging frantically through the menu scavenging for keto options. If the entree typically comes fried with breading, ask if they can grill or sauté it. If it’s a sandwich, sub or burger, ask to switch the bun for a bed of lettuce. If you’re not sure about the sugar content in the sauces, ask for them on the side just to be safe. When in doubt, go extra on the green veggies!
Safe Menu Items
These menu items are typically safe to order and are staples of dining out on keto. Just make sure to limit sauce or dressing consumption if you don’t know what exactly is in it!
- Side Salad
- Grilled Chicken
- Non-Breaded Wings
- Burger (no bun)
- Cobb Salad
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