Dining Out on Keto? 5 Practical Tips!

Do you love going out for dinner but are you not convinced yet that dining out and keto go well together in one sentence? Well, they actually do! Keto dining out is easier than you might expect. Apply these 5 simple practical tips and enjoy eating keto in restaurants!


1: A good start is half the battle: pick your restaurant wisely! 

The first, and most important step is to pick a restaurant that serves several types of cuisines. Dining out on keto is not going to work when you go to a restaurant that only serves 1 specific cuisine which is naturally high in carbs. Therefore, you can of course better skip a pizzeria or sushi restaurant.


Keto dining out is especially easy in one of the following restaurants:

  • A bistro

  • A steakhouse

  • A fish restaurant

  • A mediterranean restaurant

  • A Greek restaurant

  • A salad bar

  • A buffet restaurant

In addition, most restaurants are open to meeting the needs of their visitors by substituting or leaving out some ingredients.

If you really want to prepare yourself, check the restaurant menu beforehand to do some pre-research on what you can eat or call with the restaurant and ask about their options.


2: Best dishes to choose from

After picking a restaurant, it's time to decide on what dish you want to order. If you follow the keto food basics of eating a lot of leafy veggies, healthy fats such as real butter & olive oil, and fatty fitsh & meats, there are mostly lots of options.

Eating keto in restaurants is simple if you order one of the following dishes:

  • A salad such as a salmon salad, mozzarella salad or caesar salad.
    Pay attention to: dressings, croutons, starchy vegetables, and fruits. Always ask the waiter / waitress to leave out the dressing, and to serve extra virgin olive oil in a separate bowl. 

  • Fresh meat or fish with vegetables. 
    Pay attention to: potatoes, pasta, breads, fries, rice, starchy vegetables, and non-keto proof sauces such as ketchup, and sweet sour sauce. Ask the waiter / waitress to replace pasta / rice / bread / potatoes with vegetables, and sauce with grass fed butter or extra virgin olive oil. If they don't substitute, then order for some extra meat, fish or vegetables.

  • Separate starters or several small dishes. Why not order several starters, and try different dishes? In some restaurants it's way easier to pick keto-friendly starters compared to main dishes. 
    Pay attention to: breads, sauces, and croutons. Some starters come automatically with one of these ingredients, so ask your waiter / waitress about this.

3: Ask for some extra healthy fats and veggies

When you found your perfect keto-friendly dish, make sure to ask for some extra fats, and veggies! Extra olive oil, butter, and leafy vegetables make your dish even more keto proof since most meals are naturally not that high in healthy fats.


4: Be careful with sauces, and additional ingredients

We can't mention this enough. Lots of sauces, and condiments contain hidden sugars or additives (a blog post on this topic follows soon). Therefore, always ask the waiter about the ingredients of the meal / dish you want to order, and with what kind of sauce the dish comes. You will be surprised how quick carbs can add up, if you eat sauces that are pre-made.

Fortunately, there are also keto proof sauces and condiments. The following ones are the best keto friendly options, especially when homemade:

  • Aioli

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Butter (plain or with fresh herbs)

  • Cheese sauce

  • Chimichurri

  • Cream cheese

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Guacamole

  • Homemade mayonnaise

  • Hot sauce

  • Mustard

  • Pesto

  • Sour cream

  • Tzatziki

Be aware of portion sizes. These condiments might be lowest in carbs and sugars, they still contain some and when eating in large amounts, these can add up.

5: Non-alcoholic keto drinks, and keto alcohol

Dining out is not complete without a nice drink of course. Unfortunately, most drinks on the menu are not so keto proof. The best non-alcoholic keto drinks, are: (sparkling) water, and tea. We don’t really recommend to drink sugar free sodas, since the effect of synthetic sweeteners on blood sugar levels still remain unknown. That being said, drinking one glass once in a while probably won’t harm. If you feel like drinking alcohol, try to stick to one glass of dry wine or a glass of a clear spirit such as vodka or gin with sparkling water, a shot of rum, tequila or whiskey. Cheers!


Extra tip: what about a dessert?

Do you feel like eating a dessert? Order a cheese platter! Nothing more keto than that :) Another option would be a cappuccino with unsweetened almond milk, and a piece of extra dark chocolate.


Last but not least: enjoy your keto dinner!

Dining out should be about having fun, being relaxed, and enjoying delicious foods with good company. Therefore, the most important thing is to fully enjoy your experience. We all know you have the best intentions, and are trying the best you can. Sometimes making a 'mistake' is not even your own fault, when a dish was not clearly presented on the menu for example. 

Be gentle with yourself. Let go of previous experiences, and learn from them. We are all a work in progress, and finding your keto lifestyle is all about trial & error!


What are your tips / recommendations on dining out on keto?

How do you succeed in keto dining out? What are your best tips? Or maybe you have great recommendations on keto friendly restaurants in places in The Netherlands or in other places / countries? Leave your comment! :)