Staying on top of your diet goals is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you want to enjoy a nice meal with your friends and family at a fancy restaurant that doesn’t cater to your dietary needs. Additionally, not only have the portion sizes in many restaurants increased, but the enticing appetizers placed on the tables for our “biting” pleasure as we wait for dinner have also increased in size! By the time your meal is served, you are only happy to nibble or eat around it.
This doesn’t mean that you are never going to enjoy a meal out if there are no keto friendly specific restaurants in your neighborhood. What this means is that there are a few strategies that you can apply that will ensure you stay on top of your ketogenic diet and have a blast while at it. At this point, adhering to your diet guidelines and following a healthy low-carb diet is about the most important thing and anything that hinders your health and weight loss goals should be pretty clear.
For instance, you know that you do not need to be in at a keto friendly restaurant to avoid:
• Foods rich in carbohydrates
• Processed foods containing carrageenan, sulfites, BPA, which have been linked to impaired thyroid function and cancer, MSG, or wheat gluten,
• Artificial sweeteners that may cause cravings
• High-carb fruits
• Alcohol because it is stored in the body as glycogen like carbs
• Sugary drinks
Therefore, a little restaurant research will go a long way before you go out. You clearly want to avoid restaurants that are more inclined to serve carbs such as Italian and Mexican restaurants, pizza places, and sandwich shops. Nothing satisfies like a good steak, therefore, eating at steak houses that serve prime-grade beef and grass-fed would be your best bet. You will want to watch out for the sauces because of the salt content. You will also face some appetizer and side dish challenges, but you will be on the right track provided that you know keto side dishes to choose from that will not wreck your waistline.
Other great keto friendly restaurants are Greek or Mediterranean restaurants. Mediterranean foods are healthy because they are mainly cooked with olive oil – which ticks one of the most important boxes on your keto diet, which is to incorporate healthy fats. Most of the Mediterranean salads are prepared with ingredients such as cheese, tomatoes, eggs, chicken, etc. therefore you know you are eating the right things while staying within your diet guidelines. You obviously want to stay away from bread, which often freely offered and in bulk in many Mediterranean and Greek restaurants.
The Mediterranean type of diet is also big on eating red meat, fresh fish, chicken, drinking plenty of water and wine in moderation. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is a lifestyle change that isn’t too big on consuming alcohol. Not only does alcohol affect ketosis, the body uses it as a source of fuel, but if you enjoy alcohol, low carb alcoholic drinks such as wine, which has lower carbs than beer, or pure spirits like whiskey and vodka with soda water that contain zero carbs may be appropriate. Just remember that the more alcohol you drink, the more your weight loss may slow down because the body burns the alcohol before anything else.
Therefore, be mindful of sweet drinks or cocktails that obviously contain high amounts of fructose and if you really must have some alcohol during your ketogenic diet, monitor the results after some time and be the judge of the outcome.
Chinese and seafood restaurants are also great options for keto friendly restaurants. Part of your keto diet guidelines is to load up on fresh fish and healthy fats. Well, you will be spoilt for choice in these restaurants provided they serve fresh fish. Fish offer an important source of omega-3 fatty acids that prevent inflammation and reduces the risk of arthritis. These essential nutrients also keep your heart and brain healthy and decrease the risks of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes. Because our bodies don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids, therefore, we must get them through the food we eat especially in fatty fish. Some good choices are salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, light tuna, and oysters.
Obviously in Chinese you must stay away from rice. Also be careful with the chicken as there are many carb loaded ingredients added to chicken in Chinese food. The fresh fish is the best option.
Some barbeque places can also be a fantastic choice for keto friendly restaurants. However, some of the dipping sauces or BBQ marinades may not be as keto friendly because they may contain wheat flour, cornstarch and copious amount of sugar and salt. Therefore, you want to be mindful of that and if you are uncertain of the ingredients. You will be surprised how eager some restaurants are in honoring all kinds of special requests. Make sure to ask the waitress or do a little research with your friend Google before ordering.
Burger joints are a great option! Restaurants like Five Guys Burgers and Fries are as good as it gets when it comes to keto. You can order a burger minus the bun. They’ll serve it in a nice bowl for you. They have an awesome selection of toppings. Just about anything you’d ever want on a burger. And if you like to have a diet soda, their soda machines have a huge array of diet flavors.
Buffalo Wild Wings is another awesome keto friendly restaurant. Their wing sauces have a mostly very low carb count. Check out more info on Buffalo Wild Wings on keto here.
Being on a keto diet takes some adjusting to, but you do not have to starve yourself while eating out. The idea is to focus on the positives such as your end result and what you will get from staying on track while on your ketogenic diet. You may fall into temptation and perhaps eat a few carbs above your diet threshold and cause your body to come out of ketosis. It is not the end. You can always get back on track, but ensure, that those temptations are minimal or none in totality.
Here are important tips for when you are eating out:
• Make healthy meal substitutions. Instead of high-carb salads or sides, opt for steamed vegetables that are keto friendly
• Choose fire grilled, baked, steamed, roasted, meats and vegetables over breaded, battered, or deep fried, especially when you are unsure of the oils that have been used or the content of the coating or batter
• Go easy on alcoholic and sweetened soft drinks or juices
• Always pick the best protein
• Practice portion control
• Be mindful of the sauces and dressings
• Skip the bread – however tempting it is
• Look for protein dishes with vegetable sides that can be easily modified