Top 5 Keto Options to Eat When Dining Out
One of the things I love most about keto is how absolutely EASY it is to find diet-compliant food at restaurants. To be fair, my perspective on eating at restaurants while trying to diet originated while following a low-fat approach, and I understand that the greasy, starchy sides are always hard to turn down, but I assure you, staying keto is far simpler than trying to stay low fat.
Why? Well for starters, just about everything is cooked in some type of fat, usually oil or butter. Obviously, this only works for one of the two dieting paradigms. Next, the main dish options are most often meat or fish, and all cuts of animal are on the table – pun intended! Finally (not really, but the last one I’ll mention), vegetables and/or salad can be subbed in for the carby side – and they can be soaked in butter or salad dressing!
These are my top 5:
#1 Five Guys / In-N-Out / Literally Any Burger Place
Five Guys makes the best burgers. @ me.
Even if they didn’t, they have unlimited free peanuts, so it’s an automatic winner. Where else do you get free unlimited keto sides??? Red Robin is a close second – the bottomless fries substitute is bottomless broccoli. Just don’t let your server’s weird looks after your third request for broccoli throw you off your game.
My go to:
- Bacon Cheeseburger, Extra Patty, Extra Cheese.
- Lettuce wrapped if I want to get messy; in a bowl if I want to stay clean.
- Mayo, ketchup, mustard (ask them to put it on; no on-the-side nonsense – it’s never the same!)
- Grilled onion & mushrooms
- Sometimes jalapeno
#2 Outback / Literally Any Steakhouse
Also just about any American restaurant …
What’s better than a burger? The better cuts of cow!
Steakhouses do things right. Order your meat, pick your sides, and feast.
My go to is a toss up between Victoria’s Filet, the Ribeye, and when they used to have it, the New Zealand Lamb. Medium RARE. It says something like “comes with one potato option and one side,” but the real ones know you can get 2 sides. Grilled asparagus and the Cesar salad, or if we’ve made room for the dressing, the blue cheese wedge.
Any opportunity to snag some lightly burnt, well-oiled brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic is seized! Special places have grilled octopus tentacle. Special people order grilled octopus tentacle.
I miss you, New Zealand Lamb.
#3 On the Border / Literally Any Mexican Restaurant
The most reliable place to get avocado and/or guac!
In many cases, Mexican restaurants have a carne plate that is basically a replica of what you could get at a steakhouse, sub rice for ‘cados and sub the beans too if you’re being strict. If that’s not your jam, look towards the fajitas or other entrees! It’s often laden with meat + cheese + vegetable options (and the rice and beans you can substitute). The quick eats chains, like Chipotle, usually have a bowl option as well.
At Mexican restaurants, I’m almost always looking for the largest combo plate (because they’re a stop for “dirty” carb ups), but when I’m behaving, the Carne Asada or Grilled Queso Chicken, both with extra veg instead of rice.
#4 Bonefish Grill / Red Lobster / Literally Any Seafood Restaurant
Bonefish > Red Lobster because they won’t destroy you with biscuits. Unless you’re going in on some biscuits, then obviously Red Lobster is the choice.
What’s great about seafood? Oh, not much, just basically everything. High protein, omega-3 fats, great taste, and plenty of options.
Mercury intake aside, fish/seafood is our most healthful option for protein, and clearly, we care about our protein intake.
The salmon is ALWAYS a good choice. My seafood mood changes with the tide. Sometimes I go for the Chilean Sea Bass, sometimes the Ahi Tuna, and sometimes the Scallops and Shrimp w/lemon butter. The dynamite shrimp would make the list, but they let you order it as an appetizer, so I always do!
It’s worth mentioning Sushi here. Sashimi is great, but considering I can eat $500 worth of sashimi before feeling content, I save the Japanese for carb ups – sushi rolls all the way!
#5 Panera / Literally Any Salad Joint (that’s not vegetarian/vegan)
I like salad places. I don’t love salad places.
Salads can be delicious. But paying an extra ~10 dollars for an adequate portion of meat leaves me a little bitter. That’s not to mention, they’re usually pretty good at keeping the calories low – not something that works for me personally, especially if I’m traveling, so I usually end up ordering 2 and dropping $30… on salad!
Yes, I know I’m probably in the minority with that position. I’m at peace with that! If you like low-cal, more power to you!
My go to: Green Goddess Cobb with extra Chicken … x2
Seasonally (?), they have a steak and blue cheese salad that’s pretty good too.
Who Says It’s Hard to Eat Out on Keto?
Crazies! That’s who! With an exception for Five Guy’s Cajun Fries and keeping the burger on the bun for ease of face-stuffing, these dishes are exactly what I would be ordering even if not dieting!