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They say "Variety is the Spice of Life" and after a month or so on the keto diet, you may be missing variety in your meals. Since starting the keto diet you have probably been cooking meals at home and taking your lunch. But, at some point, you will be eating out on the keto diet.
Eating out on the keto diet may not seem possible, but with a little planning, dinner out will be a treat.
Low Carb Recipes
Cooking keto at home allows you to stay in control on the keto diet. But, those same recipes week after week can become boring. Then you start looking for keto recipes. There are so many online it can be overwhelming.
Check out my Low Carb Recipes for the Keto Diet here.
I also researched keto cookbooks and found several favorites that I would recommend. Take a peek at my post on Best Keto Diet Cookbooks to Tempt Your Tastebuds.
Low Carb Dieting
At some point, you may want something more or due to work obligations, you may have to eat out. Almost everyone loves to eat out at restaurants.
There is something about being seated, taking time to pick out a meal, and then waiting in anticipation for that meal to be served that makes the whole experience special.
Once you start low carb dieting you start tracking your macro-nutrients, you may feel overwhelmed with the idea of someone else cooking and portioning your meal. Do you know what I mean? Kinda guilty and out of control?
eating out on the keto diet is possible. You just have to be smart about your meal choices.
Planning Keto Diet Meals When Eating Out
Just like a fire drill that prepares you for the unexpected fire, having a plan before you eat out is a smart thing to do.
Knowing in advance what you will order, helps you be strong in the presence of foods that are not keto-friendly.
The following are a couple of tips to think about before you head to dinner.
- Don't go to dinner hungry. Have a light snack before you go of celery boats or a handful of pecans or almonds.
- Have a glass of water before you leave. This will help ensure that you are hydrated and will add to the feeling of fullness.
- In this day and age of online availability, most restaurants post their menus online so you can review and evaluate options and decide what works best for the keto diet. This helps because you decide before you ever enter the door and are tempted by the sight and smell of foods that are not keto-friendly.
- Ask the waitress or waiter to hold on the breadbasket while you are waiting for your meal.
- Drink water at dinner or unsweetened ice tea. If you like sweetened tea, it's always good to keep a packet of your favorite sugar substitute with you.
For more information on which sugar substitutes are keto-friendly, check out my post on Best Sugar Substitutes for the Keto Diet.
Low Carb Restaurant Options
Italian is one of my family's favorite types of foods.
Eating out on the keto diet at an Italian Restaurant can be a little tricky, but it can be done.
What to Enjoy
Enjoy salads tossed with olive oil and red or white wine vinegar. Avoid dressings made with balsamic vinegar since it includes added sugar.
Also, a Caprese salad of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil drizzled with olive oil will help you manage your carbohydrates. Another salad is an antipasto salad filled with assorted meats, cheeses, marinated peppers, and mushrooms. Other starters include steamed mussels or clams.
Simply prepared main dishes of steamed, grilled or baked seafood, chicken, beef, fish or veal. Seasoned with salt, pepper, butter, olive oil, and garlic will provide wonderful flavor and the fats you need to keep you satisfied.
What Food to Avoid
Of course, you will need to avoid the Italian bread that they bring out to tide you over until your meal is prepared and ready.
In addition, you will need to avoid pasta, rice dishes, breaded and fried meats such as chicken Parmesan, tomato, and white cream sauces.
Tomato sauce and cocktail sauce can vary widely on how many carbohydrates and sugar counts. If available you can request a red sauce from fresh tomatoes.
When you skip the pasta side, you can request to have a double serving of the vegetable of the day prepared in butter or olive oil with garlic and spices.
What to Enjoy
Sauteed or steamed seafood, shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork with mixed vegetables. Stick with savory and spicy vegetable options.
What to Avoid
Avoid deep-fried dishes with breaded meats and sweet sauces. Also, avoid rice, dumplings, egg rolls, crab rangoon, and lo mein noodles.
What to Enjoy
Grilled meat kebobs with chicken beef, fish, and lamb. Roasted or grilled vegetables.
Greek salads with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, olives, oil, and lemon. Eggplant cooked with tomatoes, garlic, and oil.
What to Avoid
Avoid gyros because of the pita, dishes made with phyllo dough such as Spanakopita, flour sauce-based dishes such as Moussaka, hummus dip, lamb and bulgur meat patties, and bulgur or cracked wheat salad.
Just like other types of food, you are looking to avoid dishes with bread or flour products. If in doubt, ask.
Fast Food Keto Options
While we all know that fast food is better avoided than indulged, sometimes we get in situations where we need to eat something quick. All the suggestions from above apply here too.
What to Enjoy
Look for options where you have whole foods such as un-breaded grilled chicken breasts, beef, and fish. Use condiments such as mayonnaise (but not Miracle Whip) and plain mustard are allowed.
Chicken and tuna salads are good choices without the bread.
Many restaurants have jumped onto the low carbohydrate diet craze and allow you to order a "naked" version of a taco, burrito, sans beans, and rice, or other typical high carbohydrate food. Look for these options on menus.
What to Avoid
Bread, buns, pitas, taco shells, and tortillas should all be avoided due to their high carbohydrates. Skip the Mexican sides such as rice and beans.
Avoid sweetened salad dressings made with Miracle Whip, ketchup, and barbecue sauce due to the added sugars.
So eating out on the keto diet does not have to be a concern. With planning and forethought, you too can enjoy a dinner out, even on the keto diet.
Set Your Table
Even when you are eating at home, it's still important to make the most of mealtime with family and friends. Set the stage with a tableware refresh.
You don't have to start from scratch but maybe add some new goblets or flatware. Try a large food board for fruits, olives, nuts, and low-carb vegetables to set the mood for sharing and conversation.
Take a look at the tableware products I love.
SAVE FOR LATER ⇓
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