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How to Guide for Eating Out on a Keto Diet

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Ever since my family and I started our keto diet journey, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends and family about how to eat without the diet interfering in my life.

One of the big ones being – “How do you eat out on the keto diet?”

Of course, this question is second only to – “Don’t you miss bread on keto?!?” But, I covered that here.

If you’ve ever asked how to eat out on keto, you’re in the right place!

The first and most important tip I’ll share is that sticking to a keto diet is like any other life change you make. It’s about commitment.

If you allow yourself to be persuaded by people to not stick to your goals, you will fail. Harsh, but true!

The good news though, is with a plan in place, you can eat out at restaurants and maintain your keto friendly eating habits.

eating out on keto salad

Eat Out On Keto Tip 1 – Plan Ahead

Remember, this is about commitment. So, planning ahead will help you figure out how to keto while at a restaurant.

Find out where you will be eating and look up their menu as soon as possible. In fact, having a list of go to meals in several restaurants will save you when unexpected changes in plans come up – and they will!

I like to have ideas in the back of my mind for the normal favorites – seafood restaurants, Asian cuisine, bar food, Italian restaurants, etc…

Eat Out On Keto Tip 2 – Be Okay with Special Requests

eating out on keto cooking

In all honesty, you’re most likely going to have to make special requests when you order—unless you’re going to a specialty place that caters specifically to low-carb clients.

Get comfortable with this ahead of time and keep in mind that everyone is on a specialty diet these days.

Seriously! Peanut allergies, and people with celiac disease, and diabetics all have to ask for changes to their meals.

It’s okay for you to ask for alternatives too!

Eat Out On Keto Tip 3 – Avoid Starch and Pasta

Pasta, bread, and starchy vegetables are the most critical things to avoid when trying to figure out what to eat on keto when eating out.

How to avoid starch and pasta with ease:

  • If chicken or fish is on the menu – ask for it grilled not fried, and naked or blackened instead of breaded.
  • Ask for extra veggies in place of pasta, fries, rice, or any side dishes that aren’t keto-friendly.
  • For things like burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, ask if they will substitute the bread for a lettuce wrap. Or just request no bun!
  • If a substitution is not possible, just ask them to leave the non-keto-friendly foods off of your plate. You won’t be tempted if it’s not on your plate!

There may still be times you end up with non-keto foods on your plate – either through your own forgetfulness at the ordering stage or your waiter’s forgetfulness when handing the order over to the kitchen.

When this happens, you don’t have to eat it! It sounds silly to point out, but some people feel so guilty about being “difficult” that they would rather just eat it than push it to the side.

This goes back to the commitment we talked about in the beginning!

If you can easily separate the high-carb, starchy food from the rest of your meal, just do that. For example, if you ordered a burger without the bun, but it came with the bun anyway, you can easily take the bun away and enjoy the burger.

Or if you are really bothered, ask for an extra plate or to-go box (people do this all the time!) and take it off your plate. There – problem solved!

Eat Out On Keto Tip 4 – Beware of Sauces

eating out on keto sauces

Sugar is the detriment of any keto diet. Not just because it is bad for the diet, but because it is everywhere, including most ketchups. 

In fact, quite a few sauces and condiments contain ingredients that make them off-limits for the keto-eater.

I’ve seen people bring their own condiments in their purse to restaurants. But, if this freaks you out, salt and pepper should be just fine!

Most restaurants add plenty of butter, salt and pepper for flavor anyway.

And hot sauce works well too if you really need something extra

Eat Out On Keto Tip 5 – Use Caution with Drink Orders

Alcohol is not off the menu entirely, but you will need to think about what you order. Dry wines, hard seltzers, and spirits (with club soda if you need a mixer) are good choices.

As I’ve mentioned before in my 10 Best Keto Alcohol Drinks for the Summer post, while in ketosis the alcohol will metabolize faster so you will feel it’s effects sooner. Drink responsibly!

The key is to avoid sugar. Unsweet tea, plain black coffee, and good old water (still or sparkling) will work just fine if you’re going sans alcohol.

Eat Out On Keto Tip 6 – Don’t Forget the Fats

Fats will help keep you satiated, and as a result, you will avoid temptation.

Don’t shy away from drizzling some olive oil on your salad or asking for melted butter on your vegetables.

Eat Out On Keto Tip 7 – Eat a Snack Ahead of Time

This can help you tremendously! 

I’ve been known to eat a keto-friendly snack such as my Keto Pepperoni Cheese Chips, a handful of Keto Crunchy Cheese Crackers, or a small serving of my Gluten-Free Provencal Tomato Tart before an outing.

Feeling a little full in advance of getting to a restaurant can keep you focused on your weight loss goals, and help you avoid the temptation to overindulge or eat something non-keto.

You Can Do This!

Remember, you can do this! Just plan ahead, and stay committed.

It won’t always be easy, but I promise you – it will be worth it!

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