Eating Out on Keto | Restaurant Guide

One of the most common worries of people who adopt the ketogenic diet is the possibility of not being able to enjoy restaurant foods. If you are one of those people, let me tell you this: YOU CAN STILL EAT OUT ON KETO!

This eating out on keto restaurant guide will prepare you for the inevitable situation where you’ll want to go out with friends and family or enjoy a nice meal out. Just because you have adopted the keto diet doesn’t mean you can no longer celebrate important occasions and have a good time with your family and friends at restaurants.

As the keto diet continues to rise in popularity, you can expect more restaurants to feature low-carb, high-fat options on their menus in the future!

Keto Food at Restaurants

Finding a fast food restaurant that fits into your diet can be challenging. This is especially true when you follow a meal plan as restrictive as keto.

But the good news is that finding high-fat, low-carb meals and snacks isn’t as difficult as you think it is. Nowadays, there are so many fast-food restaurants that offer keto-friendly options you can customize to your liking!

From egg and protein bowls to burgers wrapped in lettuce, you will certainly find meals that you can enjoy even when you are on keto!

Here are examples of keto-friendly options you may order when eating out!

·         Bunless Burgers

Did you know that most burger meals are high in carbs because of their buns? If you are craving a burger, skip the bun and replace high-carb toppings like mustard sauce, teriyaki sauce and ketchup with low-carb, high-fat toppings like mayo, salsa, or ranch dressing!

·         Low-Carb Burrito Bowls

Let me share with you another major shocker. A single burrito wrap contains at least 50 grams of carbs and over 300 calories!

Fortunately, you can still have a bowl of yummy burritos while on keto! Just start with a low-carb base of leafy greens and go for low-carb toppings like sliced avocado, sautéed veggies, sour cream, salsa, cheese, and fresh herbs.

·         Bunless Chicken Sandwich

The secret to having a keto-friendly meal at a restaurant is keeping it simple. If you want to order a chicken sandwich, order it without the bun and customize it with high-fat toppings.

That way, you get your chicken sandwich while staying in ketosis!

·         Egg-Based Meals

Breakfast meals are not a problem when you are adapting to a keto lifestyle. You just need eggs!

Eggs are perfect for you because they are not only high in fat and protein but they are also extremely low in carbs. If you are eating out, ask for egg dishes with keto-friendly sides!

·         Low-Carb Salads

Low-carb salads? Yes, just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it is low in carbs and healthy for you!

In fact, salads from fast-food restaurants can have as much as 52 grams of carbs and 40 grams of sugar!

To enjoy an order of salad while on keto, skip the popular high-carb toppings like marinades and dried fruit and avoid sweet dressings.

·         Keto-Friendly Beverages

You probably know that most beverages served in restaurants like milkshakes and sweet tea have high sugar content. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink after a keto-friendly meal!

Aside from water, there are a lot of fast food beverages that fit into a keto diet. Grab a glass of unsweetened iced tea, coffee with cream and hot tea with lemon juice for after enjoying your food!

Also, remember to always keep a no-calorie sweetener to sweeten your beverage without having to load up on carbs!

·         On-the-Go Snacks

Just like your major meals of the day, your snacks must also be ketogenic. If you are stopping by a convenience store to have some snacks, examples of keto-friendly snacks you can have are hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter packets, string cheese, peanuts, tuna packets, beef jerky, and pork rinds!

Tips for Eating Out on Keto

You know the single most important tip you must always remember when eating out on keto? Know what you’re getting yourself into!

Before you head out to a restaurant, check the restaurant’s menu online so you won’t scramble when you get there. You wouldn’t want to drive all the way there just to find out they don’t have meals that work within the keto diet, would you?

Aside from preparedness, here are some other tips for you when eating out on keto:

·         Mix and Match

If you often eat out, you probably know that keto-friendly dishes are commonly found in the appetizers and sides sections. If you mix and match appetizers and sides, you will certainly have a complete and satisfying meal while on keto!

·         Replace Grains and Potatoes with More Veggies and Protein

Most entrees served in restaurants include high-carb items like potatoes. If you are on keto, you may ask the server to remove the grains and potatoes like rice or quinoa and replace them with veggies and more protein.

·         Ditch the Buns

It doesn’t matter whether you are at a fast food restaurant or a fine dining restaurant. Most likely, you will find burger meals on the menu.

If you want to eat a burger while staying in the safe zone, go bunless! Just eat the patty with a fork and knife.

You may also ask for additional lettuce and go for mustard instead of sugary ketchup!

·         Ask for Keto-Friendly Additions

If you are serious about going keto, don’t forget which types of food you should be eating—low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein. When eating out, try as much as possible to increase the fat content of your meal and make it more keto-friendly.

Make additions! Add some grilled salmon, roasted chicken, sautéed shrimp, or hard-boiled eggs!

·         Skip the Non-Keto-Friendly Dressing and Build Your Own

Most dressings are not-keto-friendly. They have sugar, honey or maple syrup, making them high in carbs.

If you are eating something that needs a flavor boost, you may think twice about skipping the dressing. But the good news is that you can actually build your own dressing by simply asking for keto-friendly ingredients like virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, or pesto!

·         Fatten It Up

Going keto means eating lots of fat. That means that when you eat out, you must always fatten it up!

Always ask for fatty items like avocado, olives, nuts, seeds and cheese as add-ons to your meals!

Beware Hidden Carbs at Restaurants

When on keto, being aware of your intake is key to staying on the right track. It also means being aware of your “enemy number one”—HIDDEN CARBS.

Especially when you’re just starting out, you must know when you are consuming unnecessary carbs. Well, carbs are not inherently bad, but they are not good for you if you’re on keto because they keep you from achieving ketosis.

If you are going keto to lose weight, the last thing you’d want to happen is to be in a weight plateau. Every little bit of hidden carbs can add up in your body and take out of ketosis, so avoid them!

Here are examples of hidden carbs in restaurant meals you may not be aware of:

·         Alcohols labeled “sugar-free”

·         Sweet sauces and seasonings

·         Anything coated, chewable and flavored

·          “Reduced-fat” foods

·         Condiments

·         Coleslaw

·         Balsamic oil

·         Anything fried

·         Wraps

·         Beans

·         Sun-dried tomatoes

·         Protein bars

·         Corn

·         Dried soup mixes

Restaurant Dining: How to Stay Keto

Keto Mexican Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Never touch the chips. Instead of asking for chips, ask the waiter if they have house made chicharrones. You can also stop by a store to grab a pack of pork rinds before going to the restaurant so you have a good alternative to take with you.
  • Don’t eat rice and beans. While this is a no-brainer when it comes to your keto game, you have to be reminded of this all the time. Sub rice and beans with vegetables! Most Mexican restaurants have vegetable medley, zucchini and mushrooms. Go grab them!
  • Avoid fruity alcoholic drinks. Margaritas and daiquiris of Mexican restaurants are to die for, but if you’re on keto, they are a major no-no. Order rum, whiskey or vodka instead. You may also opt for a tequila with soda water and lime, or a low-carb beer.

Mexican Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Zambrero’s
  • MadMex

Keto Chicken Wing Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Opt for naked wings instead of breaded wings.
  • Stay away from sweet sauces. Stick to Buffalo sauce or dry rubs without sugar.  You may also dip your wings in ranch or blue cheese dressing, with some celery on the side.
  • Ask the server upfront that you prefer not to be served a bread basket, chips and salsa, or pitas and hummus. Go for a keto-friendly appetizer you can enjoy.

Chicken Wing Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Wingstop
  • Cicis
  • Little Caesars

Keto Pizza Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Choose a keto-friendly crust or low-carb dough for your pizza.
  • If you want to keep your toppings dairy-free, go for nut-based cheese alternatives like macadamia nut spreads to cultured cream cheese made from coconut cream.
  • Make it at home!

Pizza Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Pizza Hut
  • Papa John’s
  • Domino’s
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Keto Pizza Recipes:

You can try these recipes if you are making your own keto-friendly pizza at home!

Keto BBQ Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Use sugar-free sauce for your BBQ, or better yet, go for an option that is typically sauce-free like dry rubbed ribs, brisket, smoked turkey, and steaks.
  • Go for veggie-only sides served ala carte, including collard greens, coleslaw, and buttered green beans.
  • Avoid anything that starts with “cream of…” on the menu, because that certainly contains starch. When it comes to low-carb diets like keto, starch is something you must avoid like the plague!
  • Never drink alcohol with your meal, or limit yourself to a low-carb option like a glass of white wine or a diet G&T.

BBQ Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions: 

  • Smokin’ With Chris
  • The Capital Grille
  • Chili’s

Keto Japanese Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Moderate your intake of edamame and seaweed salad. While seaweed salad is low carb and high in protein, it contains sugar, which bumps up its carbs to around 10g per serving.
  • Go for green tea instead of alcoholic beverages.
  • Always skip the rice and orange sauce. Instead, ask for extra veggies like mushrooms, zucchini and onion, and go for brown ginger sauce.

Japanese Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Tsunami Sushi Restaurant
  • Ninja Sushi

Keto Hibachi Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Stick to sashimi to play it safe on the mystery sauces. You may also bring your own purse butter or coconut oil.
  • If you want grilled fish, go for the whole fish and not fillet. Fillets are usually coated in a glaze, making them high in carbs.
  • If possible, replace rice with steak or chicken and veggies. You can add sauces but avoid adding sugary dipping sauces.

Hibachi Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Shogun Hibachi Grill
  • Wasabi
  • Fuji San

Keto Seafood Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • If the seafood restaurant offers meat entrees aside from their fish and crustacean entrees, go for plain chicken breast or grilled steak. You may also go for broiled or grilled plain pork chop that does not contain any carbs.
  • Skip pasta entrees and rice.
  • A main course salad can be a good choice. Order your salad heavy on the veggies and top it with fresh meat such as shrimp or grilled fish.

Seafood Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Red Lobster
  • Bonefish Grill
  • P.F. Chang’s

Keto Indian Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Add ghee to any dish. This Indian staple is clarified butter, but it is pure fat so it is perfect for keto dieters.
  • Choose kebabs and curries without potatoes, as well as meat in creamy sauces like tikka masala and butter chicken.
  • Skip the rice and the naan and go for tandoori dishes instead.
  • Try adding Raita to your food. This cream dip made from plain yogurt is full-fat and contains shredded cucumbers.
  • If served with Indian homemade cheese, don’t hesitate to ask your waiter about the ingredients. Watch out for hidden carbs by making sure it doesn’t have flour or other carb-rich thickeners.
  • Substitute roasted eggplant with onions and spices for any of the fritters.
  • Instead of the typical lentil or Mulligatawny soup, order a bowl of chicken shorba.
  • Replace biryani, which is a rice dish, with korma, a meat in a cream sauce.

Indian Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Adda
  • August 1 Five
  • BadmaashBiju’s Little Curry Shop

Keto Chinese Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Go for clear thin soups like egg drop rather than other appetizers or thick soups.
  • Substitute deep-fried dishes with steamed food like whole steamed fish or steamed tofu with vegetables.
  • Order meat and vegetable combinations with thin, savory sauces, but make sure that you skip the sweet ones. Your best choices include chicken with mushrooms, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Szechuan prawns and curry chicken.
  • If they normally coat their stir-fried meat with cornstarch, ask if they can leave that out before frying.
  • Enjoy your Mu-shu without the wrappers.
  • Make sure your Mongolian barbecue does not have added sugar or starch.
  • Avoid tempura and noodles!

Chinese Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Panda Express
  • Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine Restaurant

Keto Sushi Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Ask your sushi chef if he can make your sushi without rice. Because rice is inexpensive, you might be charged more for rolls that substitute rice for other ingredients, such as avocado.
  • You may opt for Naruto rolls, which are rolls wrapped in very thinly sliced cucumber instead of rice.
  • Experiment with your sushi by asking for cauliflower rice to replace rich rice. When blended, cauliflower resembles the consistency of rice, making it a great substitute.
  • Order sashimi, but go for the real deal by making sure that it doesn’t contain high-carb imitation crab.
  • Limit the unagi sauce for your sushi to just 14g of carbs.

Sushi Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Ichiban Sushi Bar & Sammy’s Asian Cuisine
  • Soto
  • Makoto

Keto Dessert Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Focus on fruits. Remember, however, that not all fruits are keto-friendly. Avoid bananas, tropical fruits and dried fruits and opt for berries. Go for desserts like raspberry frozen yogurt, blueberry ice cream with heavy whipping cream and whole milk.
  • Ask the chef if you can experiment with your pancakes. Instead of the traditional flour, egg and milk mix, use protein powder, almond milk, eggs or egg whites and some baking powder for your batter. With that as your basic mix, add low-carb fruits, chopped nuts and peanut butter to make it keto!
  • Take advantage of avocado’s fat content by using it in your desserts. Go for some avocado pudding with low-carb ingredients.
  • Opt for desserts that use sweetener instead of sugar.

Dessert Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • Rocco’s Cheesecake
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Juniors

Keto Fast Food Restaurant Options

How to Eat Keto:

  • Stick to the simplest, most basic ingredients you can find–meat, cheese and vegetables.
  • Skip the bun. Whether you are ordering a burger from a drive thru or a table menu, avoid the bun. You may replace it by adding extra sides like avocado, bacon and sugar-free sauces.
  • Grab a salad, but read the ingredients first to make sure that it doesn’t contain ingredients that are very high in carbs.
  • Skip everything that’s breaded—chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and other fried items with wheat flour.
  • Be careful of the condiments, especially sweet tasting sauces. If you have the choice when it comes to sauces, order an extra side of butter instead.
  • If you’re not sure, skip it!

Fast Food Restaurants with Keto-Friendly Solutions:

  • McDonald’s
  • Wendy’s
  • KFC
  • Burger King
  • Five Guys

Keto-Friendly Restaurants

Adopting the keto diet is easy. But staying keto? Not so much! So just visit the restaurants that keep you away from temptations and make keto eating easy for you!

If you go check out the menu at America’s restaurants, you will find that many restaurants already have keto-friendly options on their menus.

Here are the top food chains that many ketoans go to in America:

·         Red Robin

·         Buffalo Wild Wings

·         Outback Steakhouse

·         Red Lobster

·         Bonefish Grill

·         P.F. Chang’s

·         Carrabba’s Italian Grill

·         Bahama Breeze Island Grille

·         Olive Garden

·         The Cheesecake Factory

·         The Capital Grille

·         Cracker Barrel

·         LongHorn Steakhouse

·         Texas Roadhouse

·         Applebee’s

·         TGI Friday’s Restaurant and Bar

Keto Diet Explained
About Lori Ballen Keto Coach
Lori Ballen, who shed 45 pounds herself in 4 months on the Ketogenic Diet, is a Keto Coach helping others like her get healthy, feel younger, and lose weight.

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