The ketogenic diet, known as the keto diet for short, involves increasing fats and protein while reducing carbs. If you’ve been on the keto diet for a while, you deserve to treat yourself, such as a night out at a restaurant. What can you order that’s keto-friendly?
You can eat many restaurant foods on the keto diet, everything from poultry to seafood, meat, cheese, eggs, green leafy vegetables, Greek yogurt, and even dark chocolate.
This guide will recommend what’s keto-friendly on restaurant menus for all types of cuisine so you can eat with confidence. You won’t want to miss it!
Eating Out on Keto? Here’s What to Order
Although wings might sound like a dicey pick when on the keto diet, you can enjoy some.
Just skip the breading and go straight for the naked wings as you peruse the menu. Blue cheese or ranch dressings are safe choices, but no sugary sauces, as they often contain too many carbs.
Speaking of carbs, you’ll have to forego everyone’s favorite wings side dish, French fries, when you order a plate of wings. Celery is a much better side to munch on, and it’s a good palate cleanser.
Red curry should be safe to eat at your favorite Thai joint, but confirm the sugar content of the curry sauce before you order.
Coconut milk soup with chicken, which is often called Tom Kah Gai on most Thai menus, is okay to eat too.
You can also dive into a plate of garlic prawns, but double-check they’re not breaded before you order.
Oh, and skip the rice, as hard as that is to do. Try a veggie side dish instead!
You might assume you could never step foot inside a sandwich shop on the keto diet, but that simply isn’t true.
You’ll just have to stick to lettuce-wrapped sandwiches instead of those that use bread.
This might take a bit of researching before you visit to make sure the shop even offers those kinds of sandwiches.
However, with dietary restrictions so common, many sandwich shops should accommodate you.
What if your friends or family are in the mood for Mexican? You have all sorts of keto-friendly options!
You can order a burrito bowl, but make sure you forego any dressing. Load up on proteins so you meet your macros.
You can enjoy burritos or tacos sans rice and beans and skip the tortilla or taco shell. Prepare to have your dish served on a plate or in a bowl.
Yet another option at your disposal is taco salad (minus the beans) or fajitas without the tortillas.
Are you into sushi? Rice is the main culprit on keto, so try to limit its inclusion as much as you can.
For example, cucumber wraps are a good choice, as are sashimi, salad, and miso soup.
If you’re ordering crab sushi or any dish with crab, confirm that it’s the real deal before you dive in. Imitation crab contains too much sugar and thus carbs, so it’s no good on keto.
What if you visit a Japanese steakhouse or hibachi restaurant instead? You get dinner and a show, but what in the world will you eat?
This is your chance to get in your protein for the day as you nosh on lobster, scallops, shrimp, steak, or chicken. Talk to the chef beforehand if you can about foregoing the rice and eat plenty of veggies.
Soy sauce is a safe dressing, and brown ginger sauce can be, but the orange sauce is not.
Breadcrumbs are synonymous with Italian cuisine, but they’re heavier in carbs than you’d assume.
You’ll have to deftly navigate the restaurant menu to avoid breadcrumbs, which might mean passing on the meatballs (sorry).
Antipasto salad and modified chicken Alfredo with asparagus or broccoli on the side rather than pasta is fine.
Many Indian restaurant staples are okay to indulge in on keto, from roasted eggplant to kebabs and Tandoori chicken. Whatever you order, check with your server that it’s breadcrumb-free.
Mostly everything you’ll see on a Greek food menu is also keto-safe. Tzatziki sauce contains fewer carbs than one might assume, and with plenty of Greek salads and kabobs to select from, you can fill your belly without going over your macros.
Eating German cuisine might give you conniptions on the keto diet, but it’s safer than you’d assume! A hearty German salad is a light pick, as is sauerkraut. If you want something a little more substantial, burgers and sauce are good. Make sure you skip the bun!
Chinese food is generally okay when on keto, but the sauces can be very sugary, especially at takeout Chinese joints.
If you can skip a dish with the sweet sauce, that might be your best bet. Garlic prawns, chicken, beef, mushrooms, and egg drop soup are other safe menu options.
Like sandwich shops, you would think a burger joint would be a huge no-no on the keto diet, but you can eat here if you customize your burger.
Skip the buns and ask for a lettuce wrap. Even if it’s not advertised on the menu, many burger restaurants are happy to accommodate you.
Mayo is a keto-safe condiment, but ketchup is a bit too sugary for your diet.
Veer away from the sweeter side of brunch and you’ll be just fine. Try steak and eggs, avocado with eggs, or a nice, crispy side of bacon. Eggs benedict and omelets are also great to sink your teeth into.
Cheesesteaks are fine to eat on keto if you skip the bun. You can even enjoy BBQ food like smoked chicken, ribs, sausage, brisket, and pulled pork. However, you will have to forego the barbeque sauce.
Tips for Eating Keto at a Restaurant
As you plan for your nice night out, here are some tips that will make it far easier to enjoy restaurant food while still sticking to your keto diet.
Ask About the Menu
The great thing about restaurants being so connected these days is you can usually browse the menu online before your visit. If you have questions about something you see, you can call, email, or visit the restaurant. You can also hit them up on social media.
You’ll usually be told whether the item is keto-safe, and sometimes, you’ll see the nutrition information so you can make an informed dietary decision.
Skip the Sweets
Keto and sweets simply don’t mix. All the sugars drive up your carbs, which can knock you out of ketosis.
Don’t even let yourself be tempted by the dessert menu. Step out while your friends or family eat dessert if you have to.
If you must have something after your meal, sip on a nice cup of tea or coffee. It might not taste as good as dessert, but just think of all the calories you’re skipping by passing on the sweet stuff!
Watch Your Drinks
When eating out on keto, you can’t only consider what you eat, but what you’ll drink as well.
Water is always a safe beverage choice, as it contains no calories and thus no added sugars or carbs. However, it’s a bit bland for some people’s tastes. In that case, try coffee, tea, or sparkling water.
If you want to treat yourself to a spirit, sip on light beer, dry wine, or champagne.
If you’ve recently started the keto diet, you’ve likely carefully prepared all your food at home. Eating at a restaurant might seem daunting, as someone else will make your meal for you, but it doesn’t have to be!
You can eat plenty of healthy fats and proteins at a restaurant. The trickiest part will be cutting carbs, as carbs are often hidden in places we don’t think about, such as beverages and sauces.
Fortunately, we live in an era where restaurants are more than glad to assist if you have dietary restrictions, especially if you call ahead and mention you’re limiting your carbs.