niKETO is opening a low-carb dedicated restaurant in Los Angeles in 2018, the very first totally ketogenic restaurant with a delicious, affordable, 100% keto and low carb menu. The niKETO restaurant is being started in response to all of the ardent ketoers and keto newbies who want to experience the variety keto has to offer and regain the social benefits of going out with friends and family for a nice meal in a beautiful setting.
Until then, here are our tips for eating out on a keto diet.
1. AMERICAN/ CONTINENTAL BUFFETS
Believe it or not, buffets are your best low-carb bet if you’re going out to eat. Focus on the proteins and fats just like you always would and avoid the long lines of temptation. The trick to buffets is to start backwards. Most buffets have a beginning and end. They do this so you’ll walk past the rolls, the salads, the potatoes and all the other less expensive items so your plate is mostly full by the time you reach the meat carving station. But it’s never been written that you can’t start at the carving tables and load up on meat (or eggs and bacon for a breakfast buffet).
2. INDIAN BUFFETS
Ghee is a favorite of Indian chefs and a favorite of ketoers as it’s just clarified butter, awesome fat. The best Indian dishes for keto, whether buffet or not, are the cream sauce based meat dishes: Chicken Tikka masala, Butter chicken, tandoori dishes, and meat kebabs. I know it’s hard, but avoid the naan bread, the rice and any starchy potato dishes.
3. JAPANESE, CHINESE, VIETNAMESE BUFFET, KOREAN BBQ
This is where it gets tricky. Most Asian cuisines are heavy on the rice so your options will be limited.
Japanese buffets usually have cucumber salads, grilled chicken, and sashimi. Take the fish off of the rice bed and enjoy.
For Chinese, ask for brown sauce items, look for meat and veggie stir fries (don’t be shy in asking about the oils they use to make sure you aren’t getting one you can’t have), look for crispy duck and chop suey as they tend to be lower-carb.
For Vietnamese you can get Pho with sprouts as a replacement for the noodles if you ask nicely, most Vietnamese soups are very low carb, their meat dishes can be low carb as long as you find them without a sweet glaze.
For Korean BBQ, order the meat alone and skip the dipping sauces and sides. For a ketogenic diet, try ordering the fattier types of meats available.
Our number 1 pick for fast food burger is the In-N-Out double double PROTEIN STYLE. Ask them to hold the onion and tomato when you order you protein style burger and they’ll give you an amazing burger wrapped in fresh lettuce instead of a bun. And for those who don’t live on the west coast, many burger chains are adopting this protein style, but, just like In-N-Out, they often times aren’t on the menu, you have to ask.
2. MEXICAN FOOD
Chipotle tops our Mexican food favorites because they have the burrito bowl. Instead of the tortilla, you get a get your burrito fillings in a bowl. Another great part about Chipotle, you hand pick the ingredients, so you can nix the beans and rice and opt for more meat, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream!
KFC and Chick-fil-a are both fast food chicken joints that offer grilled chicken. Obviously better for a ketoer than anything breaded, these grilled chicken options are tasty, fast and inexpensive if you’re looking for a quick bite or just really like unwrapping your food in your lap.
4. BUFFALO WINGS (or Chicken pt.2)
Buffalo wings are wonderful and thankfully mostly low carb. Buffalo Wild Wings has an order of 12 Bone-In wings that have no breading and weigh-in about 3 net carbs for a full order.
Jimmy Johns sub shop has an option called the Un-wich, a sandwich made on fresh beds of lettuce. They will make any one of their subs an un-wich if you ask. They’ve even gone so far as to include a nutrition calculator on their website.
A SIT DOWN RESTAURANT
Like it says above, niKETO will be the first or its kind, a restaurant dedicated to keto. Until then, keto at restaurants is a bit of a mix and match game since most restaurant plates come with a hefty helping of starchy sides. But it really is as simple as asking a few questions and seeing what kind of substitutions can be made. Can I have a salad instead of mashed potatoes? Can you give me a patty instead of a burger? Does this dish come with a sugary sauce or glaze? What kinds of oil are used? Restaurants want to cater to your eating needs, it’s why they are there, so don’t feel self-conscious about asking for a custom low-carb meal.
BONUS: EATING AT A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER’S HOUSE
Hopefully your friends and family are accepting and supportive of your keto lifestyle and want to help. Simply ask ahead of time that they not sauce a few of the ribs, or sausages, or leave the sugary sauces off of whatever the main meal is. Then ask if you can bring anything: you’ll look like a good guest and you’ll be exposing others to the flavorful foods that low-carb can offer. If all else fails, have a little snack before you head over to a dinner party. This way you’re much less likely to cave and eat some unwanted carbs.