Are you new to the keto diet and feeling overwhelmed about how to navigate dining out while staying on track with your goals? Look no further! This beginner’s guide is here to help you confidently dine out while following the keto diet. With a little preparation and knowledge, you’ll be able to stick to your keto lifestyle while still enjoying delicious and satisfying meals out. Let’s dive in!

Challenges of Dining Out on the Keto Diet 

Following a strict diet, such as the Keto diet, can be difficult in and of itself, but it becomes even more difficult while dining out. The Keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that tries to put the body into ketosis, a state in which it burns fat rather than glucose for energy.

This implies that dining-out alternatives are limited because most restaurant menus contain carb-heavy items. Sticking to the Keto diet while eating out requires a great deal of discipline and effort, as countless temptations and hazards can easily derail progress.

Finding keto-friendly items on the menu when dining out is one of the main challenges. Most restaurants serve high-carbohydrate foods like pasta, rice, and bread.

These foods are incompatible with the Keto diet because they can quickly take the body out of ketosis. People following the Keto diet may find this frustrating since it feels like their options are limited and they have to keep asking for meal modifications.

In addition to the limited menu options, there is a temptation to indulge in non-Keto foods. It could be difficult to resist the temptation to give in and eat something that is not keto-friendly when presented with a menu full of mouthwatering and enticing options.

This is especially true when eating out with relatives or friends who might not be on the same diet. It can be difficult to adhere to dietary limitations when those around you are eating freely.

Hidden carbohydrates are another typical challenge for Keto dieters while eating out. Many restaurant dishes appear Keto-friendly at first appearance, but they may contain hidden carbohydrates.

Sauces, dressings, and marinades frequently contain additional sugars, which can quickly accumulate and ruin a Keto diet. Asking about ingredients and requesting adjustments is crucial to making sure the meal is keto-friendly.

Portion sizes are another concern. Large amounts are typically given at restaurants, which can make following the Keto diet challenging. Even when calories come from keto-friendly sources, consuming too many of them can prevent ketosis and weight reduction. Maintaining sensible portion sizes and fighting the need to eat the entire dish requires a lot of self-control.

Choosing Keto-Friendly Restaurants

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One of the best ways to find keto-friendly restaurants is to do some research beforehand. Before choosing a restaurant, take the time to look at their menu online. Many restaurants now offer their menus online, making it easier to see if they have any keto-friendly options available.

Look for dishes that are high in protein and healthy fats, and avoid dishes with high amounts of carbohydrates. Additionally, you can also check for reviews or recommendations from other keto dieters on social media or online forums.

Navigating the Menu 

Navigating a menu while on the Keto diet might be difficult, but with the right strategies, it can be made easier. The first thing to remember is to always look for grilled, roasted, or sautéed foods. These cooking methods typically require minimal additional fats and oils, making them a safe choice for the Keto diet.

Avoid breaded, glazed, or marinated foods, as they frequently include hidden carbohydrates and sugars that can quickly knock you out of ketosis. Instead, choose foods that are classified as ‘naked’ or ‘simple’, as they are typically prepared without any additional sauces or seasonings.

Look for phrases like ‘low-carb’, ‘sugar-free’, and ‘high-fat’ to confirm that the food is suitable for your Keto diet. If you are confused about a dish’s ingredients or preparation procedures, do not be hesitant to ask your server. They are available to help and meet your dietary demands. Finally, don’t be scared to experiment with the menu. 

Many restaurants now provide customizable options, allowing you to swap out high-carb foods like potatoes or rice for low-carb veggies or a side salad. With these methods in mind, navigating a Keto diet menu can be easy, allowing you to eat a tasty and full meal while remaining in ketosis.

Choosing Keto-Friendly Dishes 

When on a Keto diet, it can be difficult to find foods that are both delicious and adhere to your dietary rules. However, with a little creativity and knowledge, you can find Keto-friendly foods in every category, from appetizers to entrees to sides.

Some delicious appetizers include deviled eggs, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and stuffed mushrooms. These recipes are all low in carbs and heavy in fat, making them ideal for starting your Keto meal.

Moving on to meals, there are several Keto-friendly alternatives, such as grilled meats and shellfish. However, you may be creative and prepare recipes like zucchini noodles with meatballs or cauliflower crust pizza.

When selecting meats, choose fattier steaks like ribeye or pork belly and avoid thinner cuts like chicken breasts. You can also add healthy fats to your meals by using oils like coconut or avocado and incorporating nuts or avocado into your recipes.

For sides, replace starchy alternatives with low-carb vegetables. Instead of mashed potatoes, make mashed cauliflower or turnips. Instead of rice, choose cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. You can also prepare a Keto-friendly mac and cheese with cauliflower florets and a thick cream cheese sauce.

While selecting recipes that are keto-friendly, it’s important to consider portion proportions in addition to substituting ingredients. While veggies are generally low in carbs, they still contain some, so be aware of how much you eat. It’s also a good idea to include a variety of veggies in your meals to ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients.

Tips for Dining Out with Non-Keto Friends and Family 

Finding a restaurant that caters to both Keto and non-Keto friends and family is one of the most difficult issues when dining out. Many restaurants now cater to a range of dietary restrictions and tastes, so it may be beneficial to conduct some research ahead of time and recommend a few places with Keto-friendly alternatives. This way, everyone can find something they like on the menu.

Another approach is to be honest with your dining companions about your dietary limitations. Let them know you are committed to your Keto lifestyle and ask for their assistance in selecting a restaurant or menu items that meet your requirements.

It might also be beneficial to explain the fundamentals of the Keto diet and why certain items may not be suitable for your eating plan. This can help avoid any embarrassment or uncertainty when ordering.

If your friends or family order dishes that are not Keto-friendly, attempt to find a compromise. For example, if they are buying pizza, recommend they order a salad to share as well. This allows you to enjoy a dinner together while staying on track with your Keto goals.

Finally, remember that dining with others is more than just the food. Instead of focusing on what you are or are not eating, enjoy the company and conversation. If you do make a mistake and eat something that isn’t Keto-friendly, don’t be too hard on yourself. One meal will not derail your progress, and you can always get back on track with the next meal.


Dining out on the Keto diet does not have to be difficult. By following the guidelines and strategies mentioned in this beginner’s guide, you’ll be able to approach restaurants with confidence and make keto-friendly decisions. If you’re looking for a Keto-friendly restaurant in Denver, check out Wave the Grain today!