By Claire McDonnell Liu, Nutritionist at Leafie.org
Are you wondering if you’ll be able to eat out again on your keto diet? Don’t worry, this delicious way of life can work anywhere.
Whether you’re planning a meal out with mates, looking for a quick workday lunch or enjoying date night, we have ideas on how to keep it Keto.
Here are our 7 tips on eating out while maintaining your low-carb lifestyle.
1. Plan ahead
First things first, if you’re choosing the restaurant take the easiest route by picking one you’re familiar with that serves keto-friendly foods you enjoy.
When trying somewhere new you could always check if their menu is available on their website, scanning the menu for dishes that aren’t carb-loaded in advance.
If you’re not sure which restaurant to choose, you could always ask in our friendly Low Carb Down Under Facebook community for recommendations in your area.
2. Simple swaps
Before the bread basket arrives at the table, why not ask your server to hold it. You could order nibbles, such as olives, nuts, cheeses or a meat-based starter plate instead.
When scanning the menu for meals that don’t blow the daily carb budget, avoid the obvious pitfalls of pasta, pie crusts and rice mounds. Instead, look out for meat, fish and egg dishes, that aren’t caked in batter or crumbs. Pair them with low-carb vegetables or fresh salad sides.
Many restaurants are more than happy to swap out rice, mash or fries for a veggie or salad substitute – your meal is sounding healthier already.
3. Popular Keto choices
Do you prefer a well-done rib-eye steak, hearty casserole or a zingy salad type bite? A great eating out plan is to have a shortlist of the meals that you know you enjoy, and the keto sides that work well with them. Some options to consider:
- Tandoori chicken with salad
- Salmon, poached egg and smashed avocado
- Caesar salad
- Bun-less burger, or burger wrapped in lettuce or mushroom
- Steak with green beans
- Pasta sauce served on roasted zucchini
If in doubt most restaurants will have a meat or fish dish, and vegetable sides. A clue is that the Keto dish will often be more colourful and interesting than the beige loaded ones.
4. Fat Focus
Meals out can be lacking in healthy fats. Give your meal a satiating fat boost when out and about by choosing:
- Oily fish, fatty meats or egg based dishes.
- Extra butter to melt on your meat and vegetables
- Olive oil to drizzle on salads and meals
- Coffee or tea with cream.
- Sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream based sauces
- Avocado sides
5. Sauce on the side
Sauces, dressings, condiments can be a tricky one. Gravies often contain flour or other starch-based thickeners, while ketchup and brown sauces are usually loaded with sugar, even salad dressings are sweetened with syrups.
Our top tip here is to get into the habit of asking for sauces and dressings on the side. You can ask about the contents or even check the label if it’s available, then make a call on how much, if any, to add to your plate.
Sparkling water, teas, coffee without heaps of milk are the easy choices here. There are also tangy kombucha, kefir or ice teas.
For alcohol-based drinks, the better options are usually dry or carb light choices, such as champagne, red wine, dry white wine, low carb beers, or spirits.
Soft drinks, mixers, juices and cocktails are often sky high in natural and added sugars – so are best avoided. Or, opt for the sugar-free versions on the menu.
7. Dump dessert
Try switching old dessert habits by ordering something new to enjoy while others are tucking into their pudding:
- A cheese board, minus the crackers
- A mint tea or black coffee
- Strawberries and cream, as your new go-to dessert