Dining Out, Fast Food and Alcohol on A Keto Diet
You want to try keto, but you don’t want to give up your social occasions eating out or that precious glass of wine at the end of a stressful day. I get it. Change is hard and there are so many details to get in place when it comes to adopting a keto lifestyle. Because of this, you want to be sure that you can hold on to some of your familiar favorites to help you through, but you want to do it in a way that doesn’t completely sabotage your efforts.
The great thing about taking on the mindset of a lifestyle change instead of simply a short-term diet is that there is so much room for flexibility, and well… life!
Research shows that social connection is such an important factor when it comes to healthy aging and living a long and healthy life (1). The last thing I want you to do is to isolate yourself because of keto. Instead, I believe there is room for pleasure and community, especially within a High Fiber Keto lifestyle!
Here’s the catch though – you need to master the rules before you break them. I deeply believe and have seen this with my personal keto experience as well as my experience mentoring and coaching many women through a keto journey. By sticking to High Fiber Keto for 22-days to start, you lessen the body’s dependence on carbs and begin building new habits along with a totally new biology and microbiome. Your metabolism will shift into ketosis (and if it isn’t in ketosis by 22-days it will likely be there soon) where you will be able to use fat, including your own body fat, as your primary fuel source. You likely already know the health benefits that keto provides – from weight loss to metabolic health to better skin.
Don’t worry – if you are just beginning keto or you are returning to it for another shot at optimizing health, in my new book: High Fiber Keto I walk you through every step of becoming a fat-burning machine in order to get you results. I remove all of the guesswork out of how to prepare for and implement the highest quality keto diet so all you have to do is simply do it.
Eating Out on a Keto Diet
When you first begin a keto diet, I highly recommend devoting more time to cooking for yourself in the kitchen. Not only will you be able to nourish yourself with the highest quality fats and ingredients this way, but you’ll also be building an important habit for a lifetime of health.
That said, eating out on keto is entirely possible and I’m going to help you with how to choose restaurants and how to order. Most restaurants are more committed to their bottom line than providing you with the most nutritious ingredients, so you’ll have to be savvy when navigating your keto diet while eating out to maintain your goals.
Here are my top tips for keto eating out:
- Pick the restaurant. Sometimes you don’t get a say, but if you do, suggest a place that will accommodate keto. Great options are farm-to-table restaurants, paleo restaurants, steak houses, grills, seafood restaurants or Mediterranean-inspired places. Skip the pizza parlors or sandwich shops.
- Check out the menu online before you go. Read the menu and plan your order. This way, when you are hungry and distracted by your company, you can still make a good choice.
- Have a snack before you go if you are getting hungry. When hunger is low and energy is high, you’ll be less likely to throw your plan out the window or splurge on a cocktail or breadbasket.
- Ask questions. Ask about hidden sugars or the types of fats in sauces or dressings. Ask if a meat or fish entrée is breaded. If you don’t want to ask your questions when you are ordering, call ahead and ask to speak to the waitstaff or chef.
- Make swaps. Most restaurants will let you swap a starchy side (bread, potato or pasta) for steamed veggies or a side salad. You can certainly sub that questionable salad dressing for olive oil and red wine vinegar. Peruse the menu to see what they have on hand and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need.
- Pack your purse. I always travel with a little bottle of olive oil or ghee so I can easily order a plain meat entrée and high fiber vegetables and then cover it in fat. Since many restaurants use vegetable oils, packing my own allows me to be sure I’m getting enough good quality fat to support keto.
- Do your best! Since nothing is perfect, especially when eating out, don’t beat yourself up! You’ll get better at choosing restaurants and menu items over time. Don’t let one little slip up derail all of your progress. Remember with a keto lifestyle, there is room to simply pick back up where you left off. If you do slip up, I can’t urge you enough to not go haywire and binge on all the carbs. This black-and-white approach to nutrition is what causes the metabolic disasters of blood sugar imbalances, fat gain and cardio-metabolic disease in the first place. Simply pick back up at your next meal and move forward.
After your body has made the incredible metabolic transition and you become a fat-burner, you can begin experimenting with alcohol and eating at your favorite restaurants to see how your body responds. You’ll be approaching these favorites from a newfound place of metabolic flexibility, which can create a whole new experience for you that allows for some adjustability. During this phase, you might handle some extra carbs without a problem. Or, you might notice that old favorites don’t taste or feel how they used to. If the latter is the case, you might not care because you feel so good on keto!
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