Have you heard of the Keto diet yet? What about Keto restaurants?
This latest diet trend has been touted as a miracle weight loss tool and the solution to blood sugar regulation once and for all. The problem with any diet however is navigating the world of eating out.
How do you experience all the joy that comes with not having to cook, while still staying under 50 g of net carbs a day?
Fortunately for you, you can have your almond flour sugar-free cake and eat it too. Here’s how to order a keto meal from any menu at keto restaurants.
What is the Keto diet?
The ketogenic diet, affectionately referred to as keto, is a high fat, low carb, low protein diet designed to put your body into a state of ketosis, (where your body burns ketones (fat) for energy instead of glucose (sugar)).
By eating lots of fat, you’re encouraging your body to burn fat for fuel.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
There are a myriad of benefits that come with swapping your blueberry pancakes for an omelet in the morning, but here are a few:
The keto diet can help manage blood sugar levels
You know how after you eat a cookie, you feel a sudden burst of energy? Only to be followed by hunger pangs, low mood, and sleepiness a couple hours later. That’s because of fluctuating blood sugar. While eating carbohydrates keeps your blood sugar on this crazy roller coaster all day long, fat keeps your blood sugar steadier. This translates to less hunger and more sustained energy throughout the day.
The keto diet may control seizures
The keto diet was used therapeutically for individuals with epilepsy long before it hit mainstream media. It’s quite effective at reducing the number and severity of seizures long term. It’s also a safe alternative for those who may not be responding well to typical anti-seizure medication.
Ketogenic diets can increase energy levels
You may feel a bit lethargic when you first start keto as your body learns to adapt to burning fat for fuel. After a while however many people report having more energy than ever before.
Keto can improve mental clarity
Our brain is 60% fat, making fat by far the most important macronutrient for brain function. Many people report feeling clear headed and focused on the ketogenic diet.
Eating a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight
This may be the number one reason why people go keto in the first place. Weight loss occurs for a couple of reasons, at least one being the satiating nature of fat encourages less food consumption overall.
There’s a lot of good reasons why you might want to give the ketogenic diet a try. However, it’s not for everyone. Like any diet, check with your doctor before you begin to see if it’s right for you.
What are tips for eating at Keto restaurants?
Following any restrictive diet like keto makes social situations challenging. Just the thought of eating out when you’re on a diet is enough to induce anxiety.
But, it doesn’t have to.
We’re here to show you how to make any restaurant meal keto friendly, all without having to call ahead and talk to a manager or visit a special keto restaurant your family will hate.
How to avoid hidden carbohydrates on Keto
The number one rule on keto is to avoid carbohydrates. This includes pasta, pizza, rice, pancakes, sandwich bread, burger buns, and basically anything else that screams carbs.
That’s the easy part.
The hard part is staying away from the hidden sources of carbohydrates.
Here are a few hidden sources of carbohydrates you may find at a Keto restaurant
- Beer, wine, and cocktails
- Barbeque sauce
- Low-fat salad dressings
Hold the alcohol, condiments, and avoid anything fried to be sure you’re staying well within your carbohydrate limit for the day. It’s probably best to skip dessert too.
Order Keto-friendly vegetables
Stay away from that side of fries and opt instead for steamed veggies or a salad with olive oil and vinegar.
While not all vegetables are keto, many are, and they’re a great way to fill you up without adding a ton of calories to your meal.
Vegetables you can eat on Keto
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, swiss chard, spinach)
Vegetables you should avoid on Keto
Salads are usually a safe bet when you’re eating out. Add chicken, avocado, and lots of olive oil to a garden salad to turn a side dish into a keto approved dinner for one.
Protein to eat on the Keto diet
There is a time and a place for plant-based proteins. Keto is not always the time or place. Plant-based proteins like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are high in carbohydrates and will knock you right out of ketosis.
Plant-based foods to avoid on Keto
Avoid chili, refried beans, seitan (wheat gluten), and bean-based veggie burgers if they’re on the menu. Those will be too high in carbohydrates if you want to eat Keto.
Instead, choose animal-based proteins which are often higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. Salmon, beef, chicken, and eggs are all great choices.
If you are avoiding animal protein, no worries, tofu is low carb, keto friendly, and perfect for our vegan keto friends.
The best fats to eat on the Keto diet
While most plant proteins don’t fit into a keto diet, plant fats are your new best (keto) friend. Plant-based fats are fantastically keto and extraordinarily good for you. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of plant-based fats to add to your meal:
Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all plant-based and keto friendly. You can find them on the menu in salads, coating salmon, or as a substitute for bread or grains.
Avocado is a keto dream come true. Low in carbs and rich in healthy fats, avocado is a great choice for anyone looking to increase their fat intake. The best part is, most restaurants have some sort of avocado dish on their menu. Swap out your sugar-loaded salad dressing with avocado or trade ketchup on your bun-less burger for guacamole to cut unnecessary carbs from your meal.
Extra virgin olive oil
The best way to avoid hidden carbs in salad dressings is to stick with olive oil and vinegar. Almost all restaurants have it and it’s an easy sugar-free salad dressing.
This could be coconut milk, coconut flakes, coconut oil, coconut flour, and any other form of coconut you can think of. Coconut is very high in fat and quite common in Asian cuisine. Try a Thai coconut curry with tofu, spinach, and broccoli for a delightful keto meal.
Eating brunch at Keto restaurants
If you’re feeling stuck on ordering a keto dinner, try brunch instead. While you may be hard-pressed to find a keto restaurant for dinner, it’s a bit easier for breakfast.
Breakfast is delightfully keto friendly, full of naturally high fat foods like cheese, eggs, bacon, and butter.
Go ahead and order a 3-egg omelet with cheddar cheese and extra bacon. You won’t feel like you’re on a diet at all.
You Don’t Need to go to a Keto Restaurant to Stick to Your Keto Diet
Use this guide to ease your restaurant anxiety and make eating out enjoyable again. You don’t even need to go to a keto restaurant to stick to your diet.
Before you head out though, be sure to download the Moola app. You can buy yourself a gift card to one of the restaurants above and save even more money on your next eating out experience!