Sticking to your keto diet while eating out can be a challenge. With tempting menu items and hidden carbs lurking in sauces and dressings, it can be easy to slip up and derail your progress. However, with a little planning and preparation, it is possible to enjoy a delicious meal out while still staying within your daily carb limit.
In this post, we will share tips and strategies for sticking to your keto diet when eating out, including how to research restaurants ahead of time, make special requests, and plan your meals to stay on track
The challenges of sticking to a keto diet while eating out
Limited options: Many restaurants offer high-carb meals and few keto-friendly options, making it difficult to find appropriate choices.
Hidden carbs: Carbohydrates can be hidden in sauces, dressings, and marinades, making it challenging to track and stay within your daily carb limit.
Temptation: Eating out with friends or family can be tempting, and you may be tempted to indulge in high-carb options.
Social pressure: Eating keto can be seen as restrictive, and others may try to convince you to stray from your diet.
It’s important to stick to your keto diet while eating out because it’s essential to your overall health and wellness. Keto has been shown to improve weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health, among other benefits. Additionally, sticking to your diet can help you stay committed and motivated, leading to long-term success on the keto journey.
Research the Restaurant Ahead of Time
Researching a restaurant ahead of time can help you make informed choices and ensure that you stick to your keto diet. Here are some tips on how to research a restaurant and identify keto-friendly options:
Use online menus: Many restaurants now have their menus available online. Before you go, take a look at the menu and identify options that fit within your keto diet. Look for protein-based options like meat, fish, and poultry, as well as vegetable sides like broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower.
Look for keto or low-carb options: Some restaurants specialize in keto or low-carb options. Search for these types of restaurants in your area and check their menus for suitable choices.
Check reviews: Online reviews can be a helpful tool when researching a restaurant. Look for reviews that mention keto or low-carb options, or ask in keto-specific forums or social media groups for recommendations.
Call ahead: If you’re unsure about the menu or whether a restaurant can accommodate your dietary needs, call ahead and ask. This will give you the opportunity to speak with someone who can answer your questions and offer suggestions.
Remember, it’s always better to be prepared and have a plan before you arrive at the restaurant. By researching ahead of time, you can ensure that you make informed choices that align with your keto goals.
Make Special Requests
Making special requests is an effective way to stick to your keto diet when eating out. Here are some tips on how to make special requests:
Ask for substitutions and modifications: Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or modifications to menu items. For example, ask for a salad instead of fries, or for grilled vegetables instead of mashed potatoes. You can also ask for a protein option to be cooked without breading or served with a low-carb sauce.
Request that high-carb foods be left out: Many dishes come with high-carb foods like bread, rice, or pasta. You can request that these items be left out or substituted with keto-friendly options. For example, ask for a burger without the bun, or for a stir-fry dish without rice.
Be clear about your dietary needs: When making special requests, be clear about your dietary needs. Explain that you are following a keto diet and that you need to avoid high-carb foods. The restaurant staff will be more likely to accommodate your requests if they understand the reasoning behind them.
Be polite and gracious: When making special requests, be polite and gracious. Remember that the restaurant staff is there to serve you, and they will be more likely to help you if you are friendly and respectful.
Plan for Your Meal
Planning your meal ahead of time can help you stick to your keto diet when eating out. Here are some tips on how to plan your meal:
Eat a small snack beforehand: Eating a small snack before you go to the restaurant can help you avoid overeating. Choose a low-carb snack like a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese to keep you satiated.
Choose protein and vegetable-based meals: Look for menu items that are based on protein and vegetables, and avoid dishes that are high in carbs like pasta or pizza. Some good options include grilled chicken, steak, or fish, and vegetable sides like asparagus, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts.
Avoid sugary drinks: Sugary drinks like soda or juice can be loaded with carbs, so it’s best to avoid them when following a keto diet. Instead, opt for water, unsweetened tea, or coffee with cream.
Ask for keto-friendly substitutions: If the restaurant doesn’t offer keto-friendly options on the menu, ask for substitutions or modifications to make the meal keto-friendly. For example, ask for a salad instead of fries, or for a protein option to be cooked without breading.
Be mindful of sauces and dressings: Many sauces and dressings contain added sugar, so it’s important to be mindful of these when ordering. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side, and choose options like olive oil and vinegar or ranch dressing that are lower in carbs.
Be Mindful of Hidden Carbs
Being mindful of hidden carbs is an important part of sticking to your keto diet. Here are some tips on how to be mindful of hidden carbs:
Check for hidden carbs in sauces, dressings, and marinades: Many sauces, dressings, and marinades contain added sugar or high-carb ingredients like honey or maple syrup. Be sure to check the nutrition information or ask the restaurant staff about the ingredients used.
Be cautious of ingredients like cornstarch and flour: Cornstarch and flour are commonly used as thickeners in sauces and gravies, but they are also high in carbs. Look for keto-friendly alternatives like xanthan gum or arrowroot powder.
Avoid processed foods: Processed foods like deli meats, sausage, and bacon can contain hidden carbs like fillers and additives. Look for unprocessed options or check the nutrition information carefully.
Be mindful of vegetables and fruits: While vegetables and fruits are generally considered healthy, some are higher in carbs than others. Be mindful of starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, and high-sugar fruits like bananas and grapes.
Read labels carefully: When buying packaged foods, be sure to read the labels carefully to check for hidden carbs. Look for products that are labeled as “low-carb” or “keto-friendly.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Speaking up at a restaurant can make it easier to stick to your keto diet. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with restaurant staff:
Communicate clearly: Be clear and specific about your dietary needs. Let the staff know that you are following a keto diet and that you need to avoid certain foods.
Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the ingredients and cooking methods used in the dishes. Ask if the sauces, dressings, or marinades contain sugar or other high-carb ingredients.
Make special requests: Don’t hesitate to make special requests, such as asking for a salad without croutons or a burger without a bun. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate special requests.
Be polite and patient: Remember to be polite and patient with the restaurant staff. They are there to help you, but they may not be familiar with the keto diet or your specific needs.
Thank the staff: Be sure to thank the staff for their help and for accommodating your dietary needs. A little bit of gratitude can go a long way in building a positive relationship with the restaurant staff.
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