How To Eat Keto in a Restaurant

minute read | Last update: Nov 30th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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With your friends indulging in fries and pizzas loaded with cheese, you are left scanning the menu to choose a keto-friendly meal. Such situations always make you wonder, how do I eat keto in a restaurant?

Feasting on keto-friendly foods in restaurants is easy, given you make a few modifications. Choose low-carb veggies, add extra fat like butter and avocados, swap bread for lettuce, and stick to grilled instead of fried.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it is easier than you anticipate!

You will be surprised at how seamlessly you can fix yourself a perfectly keto-friendly meal in any fast food restaurant. Moreover, most restaurants now house special low-carb meal combos for health-enthusiasts like you.

Does it sound overwhelming? This keto guide will walk you through all the tips you need to stay in ketosis even when eating out!

How to pick keto-friendly foods when eating out?

So, how do you really maintain your keto diet at a restaurant full of starchy and sugary food? You just need to follow the rule you do at home, low (skip) carb and stick to protein and fat.

Well, menu cards do not come with a nutritional-info section, which is why these tips will come in handy for you!

Swap buns with lettuce wraps

Do you love burgers and subs? Well, you will have to make do without buns. These are high in carbs (almost 15 g carbs/roll of 28 g) and can totally ruin your ketogenic diet.

The best solution is to get your hamburger swapped with a lettuce wrap. Leafy greens are perfectly keto-friendly, as is your chicken, beef, or pork patty, and most restaurants will readily make the swap.

If they refuse the lettuce wrap, opt for sub in a bucket. Also, remember to cut out the ketchup from your wrap—it has added sugars you want to dodge! Instead, you can take extra servings of mayonnaise or cheese.

Ask for added healthy fats

Not only while ordering burgers, but you must also ask for added fats for all your dishes. You want to maintain the 70-80% ratio of fats in your meals, don’t you! Plus, it is the easiest thing you can do at any restaurant.

You are lucky, as you can load your plate with cream and cheese to make up for the fat content. Other options include real butter, avocado slices, salad topped with olive oil, etc.

Opt for non-starchy veggies

Starch is a big no on keto, and multiple veggies are loaded with that. The best example is potatoes—something you need to completely eliminate while following the ketogenic diet. Other vegetables that you must strictly avoid are beetroot, corn, sweet potatoes, and peas, among others.

Staying away from fries is certainly not happy news, but the positive side is you have countless options to choose from! The list of non-starchy vegetables is practically endless. Still, bear in mind to opt for leafy greens (cabbage, spinach, lettuce, kale), as they have minimum net carbs.

Dodge bread at all costs (including complementary baskets)

Remember the first tip—swap buns with lettuce wraps? Well, it is all a part of how damaging bread can be for your ketogenic diet. It is a carb-heavy food item that you need to avoid at all costs. A slice of white bread has 13g net carbs, while for whole-wheat bread, it is 15g.

So, if you love your keto diet, bid farewell to the regular bread and even the complimentary bread basket. You can always choose lettuce wraps for sandwiches and burgers. Apart from that, avoid rice, pasta, noodles, and all things grains (mostly).

Choose grilled over fried and sauces

You may be thinking fried chicken is keto-friendly as you got to add up fats, and chicken is keto. But not in this case. Fried items are mostly covered with a layer of dough before they are cooked. Plus, that oil is usually heated to an extremely high temperature, making a piece of fried chicken have almost 8-11g carbs.

Besides, you got to watch out for sauces. Most sauces have carbs in the form of sugar or flour, without you realizing it—barbecue, sriracha, honey mustard, etc. You can always opt for creamy sauces or confirm the sauce ingredients with the waiter.

Choose grilled options as they are free of hidden carbs and are perfect for your entrée base!

Other Tips

Tips can never be enough, which is why here are some bonus points for you to relish a keto-friendly restaurant meal.

  • Watch out for drinks: You can never be sure of the drinks you get at an eatery, so sticking to the classics is wiser. Choose for water (mineral, unsweetened, or sparkling), unsweetened coffee, and tea (iced or hot).
  • Replace dessert with fruits and fresh cream: So what if you cannot order a piece of cake or other sweetmeats. The ideal dessert for you is fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, etc.) topped with a scoop of fresh cream.
  • Scan the online menu beforehand: Lastly, your safest bet is to thoroughly skim through the online restaurant menu before setting out. You will be all prepared to fix a keto meal!

How to eat keto at fast-food restaurants?

Do all those dietary tips seem too much? Once you start feasting on keto-friendly fast foods, all this will seem completely worth it. Read along to find out some easy keto foods at your favorite restaurant.

How to eat keto at Subway?

Did you know Subway has a customizable menu with a nutritional calculator? Well, now you do, and it is surely becoming your new favorite. Now you can easily choose the ingredients you want while tracking the fat-protein-carb content and enjoy delectable customized meals.

On the contrary, if you want to opt for something readymade, stick to salads or the all-new protein bowls. Just skip the bread, wraps, flatbreads, and get all your veggies and meat in a bowl.

How to eat keto at Chipotle?

Chipotle is another haven for keto dieters like you as it includes a nutritional calculator in its menu. You can stick to the carb count of the day and relish your favorites without a freckle of worry.

You can always choose a burrito bowl (instead of the burrito) or a salad, and prepare one while counting the carbs alongside. Alternatively, just hit the jackpot—the Keto Salad Bowl and gobble away!

How to eat keto at Taco Bell?

Believe it or not, Taco Bell has some surprisingly-good keto-friendly options on the menu. For example, the Grandé Scrambler is the perfect dish, just skip the potato bites and tortilla, and you’ve got your keto meal.

Other excellent options include Chicken Quesadilla Melt (without the tortilla), Beefy Frito Burrito (in a bowl), etc. Basically, skip the burrito, tortilla, rice, and go with bowl meals. Also, ask the waiter for grilled meat options instead of breaded or fried, and choose salads for sides!

How to eat keto at Golden Corral?

Golden Corral only offers buffets, and it is pretty difficult to resist mouth-watering food displayed in front of you. Well, you still got it. In fact, this restaurant has a host of keto-friendly options for all three meals. Plus, they have a whole section of nutritional info for you to double-check!

Some items you can savor at Golden Corral include Baked Fish, Florentine, Salmon, Grilled Shrimp, Smoked Brisket, Golden Roasted Chicken, etc. Top it with lemon herb sauce and choose a salad (without dressing) on the side.

How to eat keto at Mc Donalds?

Hungry and nowhere to go? The scrumptious keto-friendly meals at McDonald's' got your back. Plus, it is your best option when you are in a new town or low on budget. While eating at McDonald's, you got to skip the buns, ketchup, salad dressings, croutons, fries, and milkshakes.

That sounds too much, doesn’t it? However, the foods you can order are also too many. You can order breakfast sandwiches without bread, burgers without buns (all of them), side salads, and unsweetened iced tea.

To top it all, Mcdonald's offers a nutrition calculator and also lets you edit ingredients while ordering!

How to eat keto at Bonefish Grill?

Seafood is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and protein—enough reasons for you to indulge into. Though Bonefish Grill has a detailed list of nutritional info, here are some reliable options to choose from. Grilled salmon with butter topping and side veggies (non-starchy) is an excellent example.

Another way is to pick your favorite grilled fish, add lemon butter, and opt for a low-carb side with more leafy greens. Other sides include asparagus, mushroom, avocados, green beans, etc.

How to eat keto at Buffalo Wild Wings?

Chicken Wings make for the perfect keto food as they are richer in fat than breasts, owing to the darker meat. Still, there’s a whole lot more at Buffalo Wild Wings than just wings.

Go for a bun-less burger with salad on the side, Naked Tenders, and an unsweetened iced tea to top it off.

How to eat keto at a Japanese restaurant?

You love sushi but cannot relish an authentic relish at a Japanese restaurant. Yes, keto requires you to avoid rice, but there are some pretty yummy options to try when you eat out. Here are some of them:

Yakitori: It is primarily skewered chicken with rice and sauce—two prime ingredients you need to avoid. Still, you can always order the Yakitori without sauce or rice. Plus, order a salad and a soup instead for a fulfilling meal.

Other dishes that can easily become keto-friendly after excluding rice and sauce are:

  • Teriyaki
  • Bulgogi Don
  • Tofu Bibim Bob

If you are a fan of sushi, you can always order it without the rice. Alternatively, you can swap rice rolls with cucumbers or other similar veggies. Apart from that, ordering a sushi salad is an excellent option as well.

You can select fresh seafood or fish sushi salad over a layer of greens. For example, Spicy Tuna Salad.

How to eat keto at a Mexican restaurant?

You are a fan of tortillas and burritos, but alas, you cannot eat any of them on keto. Well, there are several perfect alternatives to satisfy your Mexican food cravings while still staying in ketosis.

All in all, you got to skip the rice, beans, and tortilla and just opt for platters and bowls instead. For example, Chile Verde Pork. Further, swap lettuce with tortilla and enjoy your wrap.

Another significant point to consider is saying no to corn chips or nachos. An excellent alternative to this is salsa with veggies. For example, you can order sliced cucumbers with salsa instead.

A superlative keto option is a taco salad. It is topped with sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. Just skip the rice and beans here too!

Summing Up

The only challenges that eating out on keto has are modifications and swapping. Besides that, you can easily enjoy a guilt-free meal at any restaurant. Plus, many restaurants also offer keto meals, so you need not search or modify one.

If you do have to modify, though, make sure to kick out bread, rice, sugars, starchy-vegetables, and sauces. Try to add more healthy fat to your food along with leafy greens and savor on your favorite meats without any worry.

Here's the deal—prepare the base with meat (chicken/beef/pork/fish) wrapped with greens, with a salad on the side. Alternatively, pick vegetable-based rice or broccoli on the side, and you are good to go!

Which are your favorite keto friendly restaurants? What hacks do you use for eating out while on keto? Let me know in the comments! 


How to order keto breakfast at a restaurant?

Breakfast is the easiest keto-friendly meal that you can order at a restaurant. Order high-fat and protein items like eggs, bacon, or sausages, and top it with a lot of cheese. Just ask the attendant to remove bread or buns and enjoy your meal. You can also convert it into a wrap by asking for a lettuce wrap instead of sandwich bread or bun.

Keto meals to order at a Chinese restaurant?

While at a Chinese restaurant, you need to keep sauces at bay, as they may have hidden carbs. The safest options are beef, pork belly, or mu shu pork with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic sauce. Alternatively, try steamed meats and green veggies topped with these sauces.

What are the keto-friendly dessert options when eating out?

Unless the restaurant has a particular keto-friendly dessert option, you more or less have a single option—fruits with cream. You can opt for fresh fruits like berries topped with cream to satisfy your sweet tooth at almost every restaurant.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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