Sticking to a Keto Diet When Eating Out

  • Mar 06, 2024
  • By Rikke Svartangen
  • 0 Comment

You’re following the Keto lifestyle, everything is going great and you are feeling better than ever.

Socially eating out on keto hasn't entered your mind yet.

You have a lost a few pounds, and seem to get through the working day a lot easier when not having to deal with that old afternoon carb crash.

Then your best friend sends you a text to throw a spanner in the works…

Fancy coming out for a meal or drink?

Panic hits… Can I eat out while following the Keto Diet?

Before you go and get filled with carbs and regret, we’re going to share with you our top tips on how to go out, be full to the brim with tasty low food, and even enjoy a keto friendly drink.

All while sticking to your keto lifestyle!

💻 RELATED: If you have yet to try low-carb or keto, why not read our article 👉How to start a Keto Diet?

So... Is Eating Out on Keto Possible?

Yes, you can eat out on a keto diet! With a little planning and some smart choices, you can enjoy a delicious meal while sticking to your low-carb and keto goals.

close up image of a table of friends eating out

Eating out on keto doesn't need to be a disaster, you just need to be prepared and have a strong will!

💡If it’s up to you to choose which restaurant or pub you are planning on visiting with your friends, that's great! Choose something that has a lot of protein and veggie options.

You’re looking for something with plenty of protein on the menu. Italian, French, American or Greek… even an unlikely Indian restaurant offers a dry chicken or Kebab style dish.

💡Avoid restaurants with foods that are high in carbs like bread, pasta, rice, and sugary desserts.

That means no Pizza or Chinese! Sorry! These foods can add unnecessary carbs to your meal and kick you out of ketosis. 

💻 RELATED: If you still have a craving for pizza, we’e got you covered 👉 The Best Low-Carb & Keto Pizza

9 Top Tips for Dining Out On Keto

Here are our 9 top tips for eating out on keto or a low-carb diet: 

❗Stick to simple dishes that contain protein, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats. When dining out, choose simple dishes that contain protein, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats. This will help you stay on track with your keto or low-carb diet. Meat plates on the ‘starter’ menu are ideal for the Keto diet. Just avoid the accompanying breads or crackers.

❗Avoid added sticky sweet sauces and salad dressings on your food. Many sauces and salad dressings contain added sugars and other ingredients that can add unnecessary carbs to your meal. Stick to simple dressings like olive oil and vinegar or ask for sauces on the side so you can control how much you use.

❗Opt for grilled or baked food instead of fried. Stay clear of anything that is “breaded” or “fried” as it’s usually coated in carbs. Choose grilled or baked options instead to keep your carb intake low. Chicken, Steak and Fish are all Keto friendly. Most restaurants will serve a high protein option… once again watch out for the glaze or sauce, if unsure ask for it to come separately.

❗Stay clear of sugary drinks. Sugary drinks like soda and juice can add a lot of carbs to your meal. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, or other low-carb options. Please be aware of health issues becoming more apparent from using low-sugar drinks with artificial sweeteners. 

📝 A Recent Study has shown that low/no sugar soft drinks can have a negative effect on energy regulation.

📝 Another study showed ingesting sucralose may even interfere with the consumer's hormonal responses.

🛒 SHOP: Check out all the snacks we stock that don’t contain any artificial sweeteners 👉 here

❗You can have a starter! Prawn and avocado salads, beef salads, and chicken skewers are all good starter options. Just be mindful of the dressings used, ask to swap for olive oil and lemon… you don’t want to increase your carbs for a sneaky dressing!!

BYOD- Bring Your Own Dessert We have your back! Now not many restaurants will have a Keto friendly dessert…. Unless you want a plate of cream… Our Keto Bars & Cookies are 100% Natural and can stave off the need for a carb-heavy dessert. So pop a Keto bar in your pocket to stave off any unwanted Tiramisu or Profiterole cravings.

keto collective choc chip cookie keto collective choc keto bar 

❗Ask your waiter about the ingredients. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter about the ingredients in a dish. They can help you make informed choices and avoid hidden carbs. They may have 'inside knowledge' on how meals are prepared and will be happy to help.

❗Something On The Side? Go through the menu and look at the side dish options and pick two sides that are Keto friendly. Green veg, creamed spinach, cauliflower cheese (although check with the restaurant for the ingredients) or salad undressed is always a safe bet and can add a bit of extra colour and flavour to your dish. If the restaurant doesn’t have any keto-friendly entrees on the menu, consider creating your own meal from a la carte sides. Choose options like grilled vegetables, salad, and protein to build a satisfying meal.

❗Ask For Extra Butter or Oil. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra butter or oil so you can drizzle it on top of your protein and veggies. This will help you get full so you don’t experience food envy when your partner orders a plate of chips or garlic bread.

💡 Stay strong, and remember why you’re eating a Keto diet

If your meal doesn’t contain enough healthy fat, consider adding a side of avocado or olives to boost your fat intake. Remember to always keep your fat intake high whilst following the keto diet.

💡 70 to 80% of your calories should be coming from fat!

7 Keto Meal Ideas - When Dining Out

Here are seven easy keto meal ideas for when you’re dining out.

You should be able to get one of these keto-friendly meals in pretty much any restaurant:

Grilled chicken or fish with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad (hold the croutons and dressing with added sugars).

✅ Steak or burger (without the bun) with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad (hold the potatoes and other starchy sides).

✅ Cobb salad with grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs (hold the croutons and dressing with added sugars).

Grilled or roasted vegetables with a side of protein (such as shrimp, chicken, or steak).

Sashimi or sushi rolls made with cucumber or seaweed wraps instead of rice.

Omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and cheese.

Baked salmon with a side of roasted asparagus or brussel sprouts.

Fancy a drink? Can I drink alcohol while on the Keto diet? 

Having a drink (or two) is for many, a part of the “going out” experience.

Keto doesn’t mean T-Total; you can absolutely drink alcohol!

several arms holding drinks making a cheers

Here's how: 

Beer: The number of breweries releasing low-sugar or low-calorie versions of their beers is increasing. The problem with beer is that sugar is a key part of the brewing process. Without sugar, you can't ferment beer! Even the lowest-sugar beer available today (Miller Lite: 3.2 grams of carbs) will disrupt a keto diet after a few bottles.

❗Wine & Champagne: Go for the dry red or white. Dry equals less carbs... Sweet.. well it’s in the name! And if you’re up for something fancy you’ll be glad to know Champagne and Prosecco are both keto friendly.

❗Spirits: Watch out for the ones which contain umbrellas and sparklers.. Cocktails often contain syrups.. a big keto no no.. also no tonic.. yes it sounds healthy but contains plenty of sugar.

4 Easy Keto drink ideas - When dining out

It's important to drink alcohol in moderation while following a ketogenic diet, as it can slow down weight loss and affect ketone production. Also, be mindful of the calorie content in alcoholic beverages, as they can add up quickly.

Ask for one of the drinks below, and you should be able to enjoy a few drinks while staying in ketosis:

✅ Gin with soda and lime
✅ Vodka with soda and lemon juice
✅ Rum with soda water, lime juice, and mint
✅ Straight whiskey Scottish style
✅ Tequila and soda water with a splash of lime juice
✅ Dry red or white wine (in moderation)
✅ Champagne or sparkling wine (in moderation)
✅ Light beer or low-carb beer (check nutrition labels)
✅ Hard seltzers made with natural flavours and no added sugars
✅ Spiked seltzers with natural flavours and low-carb ingredients
✅ Low-Carb or keto-friendly cocktails made with sugar-free mixers and garnishes, such as a sugar-free margarita or a gin and sugar-free tonic with berries.

Just remember, while in while in ketosis your body processes energy in a different way.

Drinking alcohol while in ketosis may have a more potent effect on the body than it normally would, so take it slow!

What Should You Avoid On A Keto Diet When Eating Out?

When eating out on a keto diet, it's easy to know sugary desserts and drinks are going to kick you out of ketosis. But what else should you avoid?

Condiments

Many condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce contain added sugars that can add unnecessary carbs to your meal. 

Stick to simple dressings like olive oil and vinegar or ask for sauces on the side so you can control how much you use. 

Some mayonnaise brands are keto and low-carb friendly, however, be aware that any 'light' or 'low fat' version could have added carbs. Make sure to check that it's full fat. 

Bread Baskets

Come on... Bread baskets? Really? 

Bread baskets are often served before the meal and can be tempting to snack on while you wait for your food. 

However, if you're truly serious about living a low-carb or keto lifestyle, you are going to have to say bye-bye to this pre-meal snack. 

🛒 SHOP: Although you might need to say bye-bye to bread served at most restaurants, check out our low-carb baked goods, to keep bread in your life!

400g seeded loaf on a chopping board 4 low-carb bread rolls on a piece of brown paper  low-carb 400g sliced loaf on a chopping board

Sugary Beverages

Sugary beverages like soda and juice are an obvious no-no. They add a lot of sugar and carbs to your meal. 

Stick to water or other low-sugar options. And be aware of those artificial sweeteners! 

Dessert

Desserts are often high in carbs and sugar so it's best to avoid them if you're following a keto or low-carb diet. 

🛒 SHOP: Why not try one of our tasty low-carb snacks instead?

Complimentary Peppermints or Candy

No! Just no. 

Complimentary peppermints or candy may seem like a small treat but they can seriously effect your keto status. They're pure sugar! A surefire way to remove yourself from ketosis! 

Keto at Buffet Restaurants

Dodging stodge will be your main goal for surviving the sitting with your ketosis status in check! 

Eating at a buffet restaurant can be a nightmare when you’re following a low-carb or keto diet.

Unlimited amounts of carby food? Brilliant!

Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

✅ Set rules before leaving the table 
Before you head up to the buffet, set some rules for yourself. Avoid any foods which are breaded, or have sauces you can't identify. Try filling your plate only once and avoid anything which isn't meat, fish, or vegetable.

✅ Focus on fats, vegetables, and protein 
When filling your plate at the buffet, focus on foods that are high in healthy fats, vegetables, and protein. Avoid starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes.

✅ Don’t overfill your plate 
It can be tempting to overfill your plate at a buffet but this can lead to overeating. Take smaller portions and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry after 10-20 minutes.

✅ Take your time
Take your time when eating at a buffet. Chew your food slowly and enjoy each bite. This will help you feel satisfied with less food. Drink water with every few bites!

Keto at a Friend's or Relative's Place

Eating at a friend’s or relative’s place can be both embarrassing and awkward when you’re following a low-carb or keto diet.

No one wants to be the picky eater that is eating something different from everyone else. However, if you are dedicated to the Keto lifestyle, your friends will surely be aware of your eating habits.

Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

✅ Communicate as needed
Don’t be afraid to communicate your dietary needs to your host. They may be able to accommodate you with some simple changes to the menu. Don't be embarrased, a good friend will understand and support you.

✅ Take the edge off your hunger at home
If you’re worried about being hungry at your friend’s or relative’s place, have a small snack before you leave home. This will take the edge off your hunger and help you make better choices when you arrive.

✅ Pick and choose you Food carefully
When it’s time to eat, pick and choose the foods that fit within your low-carb or keto diet. Avoid starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Don't feel like you need to clear the plate!

✅ Bring a low-carb dish or snack
Consider bringing a low-carb dish to share with everyone. This will ensure that there’s something on the table that fits your dietary needs.

🧑‍🍳 Check out our recipe library for some great side-dishes to bring!

Fast-food Restaurants on a Keto or Low-Carb Diet

Eating at fast-food restaurants can be challenging when you're following any type of diet, but can become even harder while following a low-carb diet. 

woman unpacking takeaway from a brown paper bag

Here are some tips to help you stay on track: 

✅ Delis, sub shops and bakery cafés
At delis, sub shops and bakery cafés, look for options like salads or lettuce-wrapped sandwiches. Avoid bread and other starchy foods. Going into a bakery while on a low-carb diet is a form of torture that I would avoid. 

✅ Burger or chicken shops
At burger or chicken shops, choose grilled options instead of fried. Ask for a lettuce wrap instead of a bun or skip the bun altogether! Skip the fries, and get a salad. 

✅ Indian Restaurants
Indian restaurants are nearly as tough on Ketosis as Chinese restaurants! Another rice-rich cuisine with carb-heavy sauces, Indian food can be tough to navigate. Your best bet is to choose dishes that contain protein and vegetables like tandoori chicken or palak paneer. Obviously, avoid rice and naan which are high in carbs. Ask questions to your server, and try and explain your dietary limitations before ordering. 

🛒 SHOP: If you’re still really craving that takeaway, why not try one of our ready meals for a low-carb fake-away?

 Sweet chilli pork ready meal Chinese chicken ready meal chicken tikka masala ready meal

 

Asian
You are going to be really struggling at Asian restaurants. With rice and sweet sauces filling out the menu, you may be in trouble walking into a Chinese restaurant while in ketosis. Try and choose dishes that contain protein and vegetables like stir-fries or curries. Avoid rice and noodles like the plague! 

Mexican Restaurants
Mexican restaurants often have keto-friendly options like fajitas without the tortillas or taco salads without the shell. Avoid rice and beans which are high in carbs. Even healthy foods can have way too many carbs to enjoy on a keto diet, and beans are one of them! 

Pizza
While Domino's is a No-Go, and most pizza restaurants don't have any low-carb pizza base alternatives, your best option if you are going to a pizzeria while in ketosis is to combine some high-protein starters and avoid desserts. 

💻 RELATED: However, like with our ready meals, we understand that once that pizza craving hits, there's only one thing that will do! 👉 The Best Low-Carb & Keto Pizza

How to Eat Out on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet —The Bottom Line

Eating out on a low-carb or keto diet is possible with a little planning and some smart choices. 

✅ Stick to simple dishes that contain protein, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats. 

Avoid added sugars and starchy foods like bread, pasta and rice. 

✅ Ask questions if you aren't sure. The staff are there to help!

Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Next time you are eating out, follow our advice and choose your food carefully. 

In no time you will be sipping on your gin and soda, full-bellied, enjoying a keto-friendly night out! 

image of the author, suzie walker and a text explaining her credentials

Nutrition

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