One of the key components for following a ketogenic or low carb/high fat (LCHF) food program is being in control of the food that goes in your mouth. When you're at home in your cozy kitchen this may not be such a big deal. But what about those times you want to go out for a meal? Let's face it, some days you just want someone to bring you a plate of food and refill your beverage glass.
Restaurants can be carbohydrate-laden land mines. There are sauces, baskets of bread, piles of chips and potatoes everywhere. Fried, hashed, mashed, au gratin, baked. If you can imagine it, a potato can be used for it.
What's a dedicated low-carber to do?
The first best thing to do is prepare yourself before you pass over the restaurant's threshold. Know that you may have to ask questions of the server. "Can I substitute broccoli for the rice?" "Is the chicken breaded?" "Do you know what's in the sauce?"
OK. That last one may be a bit much to ask of your ordinary, every day server.
The clearest path to not succumbing to UC (Unintended Carbohydrates - Trademark!:) is to stick to dishes comprised of whole foods, with sides that can be easily substituted and that don't come in sauce or as a casserole. My experience has been that servers - and kitchens - are open to substitutions. Sometimes ordering a la carte is the easiest way to go. Just depends on the venue and menu choices.
My Lovely Mate and I just ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant a few days ago - usually a carbohydrate parade - and had no problem eating satisfying and ketogenic friendly meals. We were even happy to explain to the server (Lovely Mate is from Colombia and the conversation was in Spanish. We've gone international!) why we were eschewing the chips, requested the rice and beans be substituted for extra pico de gallo and guacamole and that the fish on his platter come baked, not breaded and fried.
In my early days of eating this way it was a bit odd asking for changes but after just a couple of times it became not only easy, but often a topic of interest to those around us. But frankly, even had there been a steady response of eye rolls and heavy signs, it wouldn't have mattered. It's important to own control of our lives as much as possible. And what's more basic, more vital, than what we put in our mouths, our nourishment, our health and happiness?
If asking for green beans rather than french fries will help with that, it's not a lot to ask, is it?
What have been your experiences in trying to Keep Keto whilst eating out?
The information I present here is based on my own experiences and personal research. While I’ve been fortunate to have exposure to leading researchers, physicians and journalists regarding the ketogenic specifically and LCHF (low carb/high fat) more generally, we are all responsible for our own choices, including what we put in our mouths. I welcome questions, comments and even civil criticism. I’m still learning. So, i you have something to add, go for it. Thanks! - Casey