The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that an increasing number of people are finding success with, both in terms of weight loss and healthy lifestyle. But it can be challenging to dine out when you’re on a keto diet, especially when every other restaurant doesn’t know what it is in the first place.
Fortunately, there are several easier ways to stay on the keto diet while still enjoying lunches and dinners in restaurants with your family and friends! Yes, there will be a trial-and-error involved, perhaps you will order a non-keto dish, but that’s alright because you can start again. Besides, indulging in a few treats now and again will be good for you.
Many restaurants are offering relatively keto-friendly menus nowadays so there’s more reason to dine out. Chipotle, Five Guys, and Red Lobster are among these restaurants and you will likely find more of them by asking family and friends who are on the keto diet, too.
There’s also the fact that most restaurants post their menus on their official websites. You can then take a look at the Red Lobster menu, for example, and choose the dishes and desserts that are within the keto dietary requirements. You may even be able to ask the restaurant management about the ingredients as well as the calorie, fat and carbs content in certain dishes.
In many restaurants, you may be able to have your dishes customized, too, so these are within your low-carb or keto dietary requirements. But be nice about it because remember that restaurants exist to cater to the general population or as wide a population as possible. Your specific dietary requirements can only be accommodated up to a certain point for good reasons.
And speaking of Red Lobster, here are a few menu items that we think are within the keto diet requirements.
- Entrees without breading and fruit salsas are great for keto diet followers. Go for the seafood entrees like the classic maine lobster tail, wood-grilled shrimp skewers, and wild-caught snow crab legs.
- Get fresh seasonal asparagus, roasted green beans, and seasoned fresh broccoli since these have low net carbs, as well as being nutritious and delicious.
Sadly, you shouldn’t eat the Cheddar Bay biscuits but if you want a treat, then take one and stop.
Skip the Starch
Keep in mind that the keto diet emphasizes low carbs intake and, in this regard, starchy foods should be off your list. Bread, pasta, and potatoes as well as rice shouldn’t be on your plate, much less in your stomach, so be careful about choosing from the menu.
But we understand if the starch cravings hit harder than you anticipated, especially in restaurants. We suggest these substitution tips to make smarter choices.
- Substitute salads or extra vegetables when making an entrée.
- Substitute lettuce wraps in place of the bread or bun for hamburgers and the like.
But there are instances when these substitutions aren’t possible. Don’t throw a hissy fit because, again, you’re in a restaurant where good manners are expected.
Just set aside the starch-rich ingredients on your plate and ignore them. You may even wrap these ingredients in a paper napkin and throw them in the trash before tucking into your dish. Your willpower will be tested but if you’re really into the keto diet, then it should be a cinch.
If you feel that your dining choices need an explanation, you should keep it short and avoid launching into a tirade about the evils of a non-keto diet. Just say that you’re on a restrictive diet and leave it at that; you don’t actually have to explain your diet choices but good manner may require it.
Go for the Healthy Fat Sources
Restaurant meals can be high in fat but it isn’t the type of fat that you should be eating whether you’re on a keto diet or not. You should be careful about choosing the fat sources that will get into your restaurant-prepared meals, and here are a few suggestions.
- Ask for unsalted butter that can be melted on your meat or vegetables.
- Ask for vinegar dressing and/or olive oil for a generous drizzling over your salads and other dishes.
- Ask for heavy cream to make your coffee and tea taste better as well as add more fats to them.
- Ask for Béarnaise sauce, if the restaurant has it, and skip the ketchup since it contains high carbs levels.
You may also want to consider carrying your own small bottle of olive oil or Béarnaise sauce when you’re planning on dining out. Think of it as being a scout since not all restaurants have gracious customer service that can accommodate your requests.
Drinks and Desserts Should Be Chosen with Care, Too
We suggest water, sparkling water, coffee, and tea since these are low-carb choices. You can also drink alcoholic beverages but we suggest sticking to low-carb choices like champagne, spirits, and light beers.
You can also drink these low-carb beverages to finish your meal. Regular desserts aren’t such a good idea when you’re on a keto diet but you can go for berries dipped in heavy cream or a cheese plate, if you’re still hungry.