Eating Out on Keto: 9 Hacks for a Keto Meal Anywhere

Want to know the key to eating out on keto? It’s all about planning ahead and knowing what to eat and what to avoid. This can be boiled down into 9 simple hacks that include modifying your meal, avoiding sneaking carbs and sugars, adding a side of healthy fat, and asking questions! With these keto hacks, you'll be able to create a keto-friendly meal anywhere!

In this article you will learn:

How Do You Eat Out on a Ketogenic Diet?

As if eating keto isn’t challenging enough in the comfort of your own home, eating out on keto can add a whole new layer of complication. Despite this, there are a number of strategies you can use to make getting a keto meal anywhere as easy as possible. Here’s how:

1. Plan Ahead

Going with the flow is a great life principle, but with keto, it’s better to stay in control. Knowing where you’ll be eating in advance allows you to check the menu and call in advance to confirm if you can make any necessary substitutions.

To find keto-friendly restaurants in your area, try using a restaurant finder app like Yelp, or even Google, to search keywords like "keto friendly" and "keto restaurants" in your area. These queries should pull up a list of keto-friendly restaurants including contact information, websites, photos, user reviews, and more.

Unfortunately, just because a restaurant is included in the search results, doesn't mean it's a perfect option so do your research by taking a peek at the restaurant's menu or giving them a call.

2. Choose Meals that Have Healthy Fat, Moderate Protein, and Low Carb Veggies

Keto sounds simple in theory: avoid a high carb intake and eat meals that are high in fat and moderate in protein. Most popular restaurants offer meals composed of a protein with a starchy side (think steak and fries), which are easily modifiable to fit your keto macros. Just ask the server to remove any non-keto items like potatoes or rice and replace them with grilled veggies, avocado, or a salad with olive oil.

3. Eliminate Carbohydrates and Sugar

Keto is just as much about what you don’t eat as what you do. Just one wrong ingredient can throw you out of ketosis! Seemingly safe foods like salads or pot roasts can come with hidden ingredients so it's important to know what to look out for.

Some of the biggest offenders include:

  • Tomato paste
  • Breaded foods
  • Gravy or sauce thickened with flour
  • Candied nuts
  • Croutons
  • Maple syrup
  • Jam
  • Dried fruit
  • Potatoes

 When in doubt, skip it.

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4. Add a Side of Healthy Fat

To make your meal more fat-friendly, add an extra dose of healthy fat from like avocado, egg, or request extra butter or olive oil to douse your veggies in.

5. Look Out for Sauces and Condiments

Eating out on keto is like embarking in a warzone with sneaky enemies everywhere; at any moment, possible culprits could be hiding in plain sight like that ketchup, BBQ sauce, or even that vinaigrette dressing in your side salad.

With that said though, most spices and some sauces are keto-friendly! Mustard or hot sauce are generally safe choices - just check the ingredient list to ensure they’re sugar-free. You can also bring a blend of your favorite flavor-enhancing spices like cayenne, curry, or herbs de Provence in a plastic bag to take the tastiness to another level.

6. Simplify Your Beverages

When you’re out, play it safe by sticking with:

  • Water
  • Water with lemon or lime
  • Sparkling water or soda water
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Black coffee

If black coffee isn’t your thing, pack a little Keto Coffee Creamer to go! Featuring a rich blend of memory-boosting MCT oil from non-GMO coconuts, it mixes easily with just a spoon making it the perfect way to get keto coffee on the go!

If you choose to indulge in alcohol, opt for a glass of dry red or white wine, or if hard alcohol is more your thing, go for gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy, or a dry martini to keep it low carb.

7. Create a Meal From A La Carte Sides

Okay, so let’s say you didn’t manage to find a restaurant in advance. You decided to go with the flow and now you’re in a pickle - there are no keto-friendly dishes you can order. Skip the main course altogether and opt for some healthy keto-approved sides instead. Choose a side salad, a side of meat, and/or a side of low-carb veggies drizzled with olive oil or butter.

8. Ask Questions

Don’t be worried about annoying the waiter- you have questions that need answers. Do you want to know if the mayonnaise is sugar-free? Or if croutons come with that salad you want to order? Asking questions will ensure that you won’t accidentally eat something that will kick you out of ketosis.

9. Get Creative with Dessert

Chances are, most restaurants won't have keto-friendly dessert options, so this your opportunity to get a little creative! Here are some ideas:

  • A cheese board
  • Berries in heavy cream
  • Dark chocolate
  • Herbal tea
  • Decaf coffee with cream

What Are Some Keto-Friendly Restaurants?

Breakfast and Brunch Spots

Opt to see your friends in the morning when you have the chance to indulge in keto-friendly options like eggs, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, steak and eggs, and omelets.

Burger Joints 

You can always find something keto-friendly at a burger joint! Just replace the bread with a lettuce wrap, skip the sugar-loaded condiments like ketchup, and pass on the fries. Toppings like mustard, salsa, guacamole, bacon, egg, and mayo are your friends!

Mexican Restaurants

Two words: burrito bowls. This super filling, keto-friendly meal comes complete with delicious ingredients like guacamole, spiced meat, light and tangy sour cream, grilled onions, protein-rich bell peppers, and anti-inflammatory spices like cilantro.

Salads Bars

Salad bars are a great source of fiber with all those leafy greens. Just make sure to ask for no croutons and switch their sugary dressing for a clean classic you can’t go wrong with - olive oil, lemon (or ACV), and salt and pepper. Then add some meat, an array of veggies, and voila. Or, if you want to switch things up, opt for a Mediterranean favorite, Greek salad!


UP NEXT: Eating Keto at Chipotle - A Step by Step Guide to Ordering Low Carb

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