Dining out can be a challenge when you’re following a keto diet. With many restaurants offering carb-heavy options and hidden sugars in sauces and dressings, it’s important to have some strategies in place to stay on track. If you’re following a keto lifestyle but still want to enjoy eating out, here are ten tips for dining out on a keto diet.
1. Plan ahead: Before heading out, research the restaurant’s menu online. Look for dishes that are naturally low in carbs or can be easily modified to fit your needs. This way, you’ll know what options are available and won’t feel overwhelmed when making choices.
2. Stick with protein-rich foods: Opt for meals that focus on high-quality proteins like fish, chicken, beef, or even tofu if you’re vegetarian or vegan. These will keep you full and provide essential nutrients while keeping your carbohydrate intake low.
3. Load up on non-starchy vegetables: Choose side dishes or salads that include non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or asparagus. These veggies are low in carbs and packed with vitamins and minerals.
4. Be mindful of sauces and dressings: Many sauces and dressings contain hidden sugars or starches that can quickly derail your keto efforts. Ask for these on the side so you can control how much you use or choose simple options like olive oil and vinegar.
5. Avoid breaded or fried foods: Steer clear of anything breaded or deep-fried as they tend to be high in carbs due to the coating used before frying.
6. Don’t shy away from healthy fats: While it may seem counterintuitive if you’re used to avoiding fats, remember that the keto diet relies heavily on healthy fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. So don’t hesitate to add avocado slices, olive oil drizzles over salads or grilled meats – just be mindful of portion sizes!
7. Customize your order: Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate special requests like substituting a side of fries with extra vegetables or swapping out pasta for zucchini noodles.
8. Skip the sugary drinks: Avoid sweetened beverages like soda, fruit juices, and cocktails as they can quickly add up in carb count. Stick to unsweetened tea, black coffee, or water instead.
9. Practice portion control: Restaurant servings tend to be larger than what you would have at home. Consider splitting an entrée with a friend or asking for a takeout container upfront to save half of your meal for later.
10. Stay mindful and enjoy the experience: Remember that dining out is not just about food but also about socializing and enjoying yourself. Focus on the company and conversation rather than fixating solely on what’s on your plate.
By following these ten tips, you can navigate dining out while staying true to your keto lifestyle. With careful planning and making smart choices, you can still enjoy delicious meals without compromising your health goals.