Eating out on keto


27 Best Restaurants for Keto Diet Followers

Sticking to a very-low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet (like keto) when you’re out at a restaurant can pose some unique challenges beyond resisting your favorite plate of fries.

First, the portions are skewed — and not in your favor. “Protein portions tend to be too large, and vegetable portions too small, leading to an unbalanced meal,” says Alicia Romano, RD, clinical registered dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Then there are the hidden ingredients that find their way in. “Added sauces or gravies can sneak in sources of carbohydrates from added sugars or flours that you were not intending to eat,” she says.

The reasons that you’re on the ketogenic diet — weight loss or perhaps a doctor-advised diet for a medical problem such as type 2 diabetes — also matters when choosing the best order for you. “The ketogenic diet can lead to successful weight loss, however it’s typically not necessary for most people,” says Jillian Kubala, RD, co-owner of Hamptons Clinical Nutrition in Southampton, New York. Although she says she finds the keto diet extremely restrictive (and therefore doesn’t recommend it), “the reality is that most people who are keto are simply following a low-carb, high-protein diet,” Kubala says.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is what’s referred to as a “modified Atkins diet,” a less restrictive form of keto that counts carbohydrates but doesn’t restrict proteins, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. (Scientists originally developed a medical ketogenic diet as a treatment for children with epilepsy.) “If you’re following a ketogenic diet that falls in line with the modified Atkins diet approach, there’s much more flexibility with food choices, thus making eating out more reasonable,” says Romano.

Understanding Macronutrient Ratios in Meals

There are several types of the keto diet and they all depend on strict macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) calculations. Generally speaking, the medical keto diet used to treat epilepsy prescribes 3 to 4 grams (g) of fat for every 1 g of carbohydrate and protein, which means you’re getting 90 percent of your calories from fat, 6 percent from protein, and 4 percent from carbs, according to the Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies. A modified Atkins diet has no protein restriction, and ends up being comprised of about 65 percent fat, 30 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. When it comes to keto for weight loss, you might eat 70 to 80 percent of calories from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from fat, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between Keto and the Atkins Diet?

Calculating Net Carbs and Ketones

Many people on keto use net carbs when measuring their carb intake. According to Atkins, you can calculate net carbs by taking total carbohydrates minus grams of fiber and sugar alcohols. The idea behind that, the company says, is that net carbs are what affect your blood sugar level and can compromise weight loss, so they, rather than total carbs, are worth counting. But you should know that neither the federal government nor the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes this term, nor is calculating them an exact science, registered dietitians agree.

Also know that if you’re on a classic keto diet, you may need to connect with a registered dietitian to come up with a personalized plan for hitting more specific macronutrient targets, says Romano. Some people on this version of keto might measure ketones, which are a substance your body produces when it burns fat instead of carbs for fuel.

RELATED: 8 Common Keto Mistakes That Beginners Make, and How to Avoid Them

General Tips for Dining Out on a Keto Diet

That all may sound daunting, but the good news is that because keto is becoming more mainstream, restaurants understand when customers need to modify their meals. In fact, some chains have even come out with menu options specifically catered to keto dieters. But you still may need to do some legwork. “Like all healthy-eating patterns, a well-rounded ketogenic diet should mainly consist of whole, nutritious foods,” says Kubala. Plenty of nonstarchy veggies should also be a staple, Kubala adds, and some fruits here and there is also encouraged on the keto diet.

You may need to finesse some of the meals to fit your desired macronutrient ratios as well. Romano recommends starting with a base of a simply prepared protein (such as poultry, fish, or meat grilled and without sauce, for instance) combined with a nonstarchy vegetable (like zucchini, broccoli, or leafy greens such as kale or collard greens). Then add healthy fats (ask for extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, sliced avocado, olives, slivered nuts or seeds, and cheese) to “optimize fat intake while maintaining low carbohydrate intake,” she says.

In general, smart picks include a bunless burger over a bed of greens with lemon and olive oil or avocado; steak tips; grilled fish; or a bunless sandwich all served with — you guessed it — salad or a side of broccoli or vegetable-based “rice,” like from cauliflower, Romano says. “You can find this order, or a version of it, at many restaurants,” she explains.

RELATED: A Detailed Guide to Ordering Fast Food on the Keto Diet

And remember: Healthy restaurant eating while on keto is possible. “A well-planned ketogenic diet has the potential to still be nutritious if you crowd the diet with healthful fats and protein choices, including when eating out,” says Romano. Here are 27 ways to do just that:

1. Chili’s

The simplest choices are the best here. Steak plus a green veggie is one perfect keto combo.

Keto Choice Classic Sirloin With Side of Steamed Broccoli

Choose the smaller, 6-ounce (oz) portion (versus the 10-oz serving) to keep protein in check. This is a great opportunity to add a source of digestion-friendly fiber with the broccoli (4 g of fiber). To bring this up to keto-friendly status, add a drizzle (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil.

Nutrition per Serving 220 calories, 17 g fat, 0 g net carbs, 15 g protein

Bacon, eggs, housemate chicken sausage and almond flour biscuit at Hu Kitchen

Honorable Mentions

Westerly Natural Market


911 8th Ave @ 54th Street, New York, NY 10019

When travelling we love finding grocery stores and spend time wandering around looking at all the different foods that we can’t get access to in Australia. We found the Westerly Natural Market after seeing a show on Broadway on our last night in New York.

We found many different keto choices and recommend you allow plenty of time to wander around and enjoy the experience. Their nut butter section alone was phenomenal!

Bare Burger

19 locations across New York City

We love that Bare Burger offer a collard green wrap as their low carb “bun” option. You can choose any of their burgers and wrap it in the collard greens for a keto option. We ordered the American, the Buckaroo and a side of crispy brussel sprouts with parmesan and bacon – YUM.

You can order a bunless burger at most places in New York very easily, but sometimes you want to be able to pick the burger up and eat it. Head to bare burger for a delicious burger you can eat with your hands.

Burger with collard green wrap at Bare Burger

Deli Meats

We recommend visiting one of these awesome delis during your visit –

2nd Ave Deli

Harry and Ida’s

Katz’s Delicatessen

We went to Harry and Ida’s as part of a food tour we did. The pastrami was amazing. I love deli meats like pastrami and this was some of the best I have had. We wanted to get to one of the other deli meat places while we were in New York, but we just ran out of time. The best thing about Harry and Ida’s is you could order the meat by the pound and it didn’t have to be served on bread. The perfect keto option.

Pastrami with house mustard at Harry and Ida’s

Dig Inn

16 Locations across New York City (with 4 more opening soon)

Dig inn has 19 locations throughout New York city and would be a great option for a quick lunch while out exploring New York city. We didn’t get a chance to eat here on this trip. There are plenty of keto options with the market bowls and market sides and a greens base.

Final thoughts on Keto in New York City

We loved exploring the keto food options in New York city and really enjoyed some delicious meals in New York City. There are so many places to eat in the city and I am sure there are many more keto options. I wish we had had more time here. I would have loved to have gone to a BBQ place, but we just didn’t have time. We will just have to go back.

We would love to hear about your favourite keto eats in New York City. What did we miss? What places do we need to add to our list for our next visit? Let us know in the comments below.

If you love this keto must eats in New York, check our other keto eats locations.

  • Keto in Japan – What we ate!
  • 5 Keto Must Eats In Perth
  • Keto Eats on The Gold Coast
  • 5 Keto Must Eats In New York
  • 5 Keto Eats Hawaii
  • Keto Restaurants Melbourne

Disclosure: The above post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. Everything we recommend on our website are products we use and love. Thank you for supporting Have Butter will Travel and allowing us to share our low carb experiences with you.

Best Keto Restaurants In New York: Top 20 Keto Friendly Places To Eat

New York City is one of the largest and busiest, as well as populated cities in America. This is why it isn’t surprising that there is no shortage of keto friendly places to eat.

Those who are looking for the best keto friendly restaurants in NYC can check out these top 20 places.

The Top 20 Keto Friendly Restaurants In NYC

1. Springbone Kitchen

First up is the Springbone Kitchen, which is one of the top gluten-free restaurants in the city. They specialize in not only gluten-free meals, but also vegan, vegetarian and bone broth eats. Those who are on a keto diet will have no problems finding keto-friendly meals at Springbone Kitchen.

2. Hu Kitchen

78 5th Ave is where Hu Kitchen can be found. Gluten-free and veggie-oriented foods are served here, but it is recommended that diners try out some of their soups. On that note, many of their meals are organic. As for price, Hu Kitchen is one of the more affordable keto-friendly restaurants in NYC, but make sure to get there earlier than 9:30pm, as that’s the time Hu Kitchen closes on most nights.

3. Chelsea Market

If people aren’t sure where they want to eat, but they want to quickly compare their options of keto-friendly restaurants in NYC, then they don’t have to look any further than the Chelsea Market. There are a handful of eateries in the market, and this includes The Nut Box and The Lobster Place. For those who are huge fans of seafood, then the Lobster Place is a must-visit.

4. Los Tacos NO1

As anyone can guess by the name, Los Tacos NO1 is a taco place. It is a keto-friendly restaurant with no shortages of options for taco dishes. It’s also located within the Chelsea Market and it’s open every single day of the week. Bear in mind that the set-up is street style, which means you’ll be standing up to eat your meals.

5. BroDo

BroDo has four different locations across the city, but it’s not really a restaurant. It’s more of a shop, and they specialize in bone broth. In fact, BroDo serves four different styles of broth, all of which are fresh and diners can choose from an array of add-ins. Those who are on a keto-diet and looking for something a bit different to eat should definitely pop into one of BroDo’s locations.

6. Bareburger

Another great keto-friendly restaurant is Bareburger, a hamburger restaurant that is inexpensive. One of the best things about Bareburger is that they serve completely organic burgers that range from beef burgers to bison. Also, if someone enjoys a bit of drinks, then they can order beer and wine while there.

7. Nature Works

For those who are always on the go and looking for a place, they can quickly grab and eat some keto-friendly meals at should check out Nature Works. It is a counter-serve style restaurant, but it focuses on serving healthy foods. There’s plenty of vegetarian options there too. It’s open for business daily, except on Sundays.

8. The Protein Bakery

This is a bakery, but it’s easily considered one of the top keto-friendly eateries in all of NYC. It’s not your average run-of-the-mill type of bakery, as it offers gourmet gluten-free pastries. It’s classed as a kosher bakeshop, but do make sure to check the hours of operation because they do close early evenings on most nights. By the way, those who want high protein-packed baked goods will definitely want to check this place out.

9. Muscle Maker Grill

This is another restaurant with a primary focus on healthy food, and they are open seven days per week from 11am to 10pm. From salads to wraps to healthy shakes and more, Muscle Maker Grill has it all. There are also dozens and dozens of positive reviews written on Google about the restaurant, so the chances are anybody looking for good food will find it here.

10. Chipotle Mexican Grill

Number 10 on our list probably sounds familiar and that is because Chipotle Mexican Grill has locations all across the nation. In NYC, they have over 10 locations scattered, and it is a must-visit for those who love Mexican food at an affordable price. Some of the most popular items people get here includes tacos, burritos, and bowls. The restaurant also offers design-it-yourself options, mainly for burritos and tacos.

The above 10 restaurants are all keto-friendly places. Each are unique in their own way and offer a lot of value. Do bear in mind that it’s a good idea to call ahead of time to make reservations at some of those restaurants, especially the sit-down ones. With that said, continue to read on for 10 more keto-friendly restaurants in NYC.

11. Snax Spot

This is another hamburger joint that is keto-friendly, but it is highly recommended that customers try out any of the burgers there. Also, the gyro and the garlic fries are good too, if that’s of interest to customers. Furthermore, Snax Spot is the ideal place to go to for a quick lunch, but do pop in for dinner.

Snax Spot is considered to be an informal dining spot. There is no need to get all dressed up or anything like that. Furthermore, the customer service is exceptional, so expect to receive that on top of great tasting food.

On that note, it’s worth pointing out the prices. Snax Spot is one of the cheapest restaurants on this list, even when it comes to keto-friendly. Given that the restaurant is right on 9th Ave, it’s surprising at how affordable the restaurant is. Just make sure to get there no later than 9pm, as that’s the time it closes on most days.

12. Dig Inn

Dig Inn has a menu that contains keto-friendly foods, but that’s not the only reason why people should pay it a visit. The restaurant buys from mainly small-scale and minority-run farms and they focus on providing support to those that implement sustainable growing practices. Besides that, Dig Inn has their own farm located in Upstate New York.

The Dig Inn is constantly changing up their menu too, which means customers get to enjoy trying different things. Generally speaking, they tend to change up their menus drastically when the seasons change. During seasons, they still may change things up a bit, but things really undergo a change when seasons change.

One of the best things about Dig Inn is they deliver. Customers can also pre-order and go and get their food at their convenience. Dig Inn is known for their speedy service, friendly service and their prices.

Anybody who loves good food at a good price should check out Dig Inn. Hands down, it’s one of the top keto-friendly joints in the city. For first-time visitors, they should definitely try a few items off the menu, especially the Evy Palmer Tea.

13. Cheska’s

For those who love a good pizza restaurant, then look no further than Cheska’s over in NoHo. This isn’t your average pizza joint because the pizzas served here are healthy. It is another restaurant that focuses on serving gluten-free food.

As for what kind of pizza customers can get there, there are many. Best of all, the pizzas are creative and bears names such as Nutty Nuttella Pizza or Protein Pizza Please. Another impressive feat is that Cheska’s is actually cheap when it comes to their pizza. For affordable keto-friendly food items, then pop into Cheska’s.

14. Keens Steakhouse

There is nothing tastier than a good steak and steakhouses are some of the best restaurants to find keto-friendly foods. That said, number 14 on our list is Keens Steakhouse. This is the place to be for mouthwatering steaks that fall apart in your mouth.

This steakhouse has been around since 1885 and has grown to become one of the most popular steakhouses in all of NYC. Here’s a tip, try the lamb because Keens Steakhouses whips up some of the best-tasting lamb in the city. Don’t forget to check out the many keto-friendly salads that the restaurant serves up.

In terms of prices, Keens Steakhouse keeps things more than fair. Diners get a lot for their money when they dine at Keens Steakhouse. Expect to spend around $100, which is not a whole lot of money considering its location.

15. Donburiya

This keto-friendly joint can be found at 253 W 55th Street. It’s a moderate-priced restaurant, so expect to spend around $30 per meal here. If looking for a very late night meal, then head over to it in the middle of the night if going on a Saturday or Sunday evening. It’s open until 4am on those nights.

Restaurant goers shouldn’t have a difficult time eating keto while at Donburiya. Just make sure to stick with the seafood and avoid food items such as the noodles, sweet sauces and the rice. If a visitor is a fan of meat, then no worries because there are several types to choose from.

16. Grand Lux Cafe

This might be a cafe, but it is keto-friendly and serves up an array of cafe-style dishes. Since it is a cafe, do make sure to get their early, as Gran Lux Cafe is open until 1pm on most nights, but on Friday’s it stays open until midnight. Feel free to pop in for a brunch or a lunch.

There are quite a few positive reviews written about Grand Lux Cafe. The reviews have mentioned just how good the food is. This is exactly why anybody should give the restaurant a try.

17. Panera Bread

Panera Bread is a national chain of restaurants, but they are classed as fast-food. They are not on the same level as many traditional fast-food restaurants. In fact, Panera Bread has plenty of healthy options and they are classed as a casual restaurant, so there is no need to dress in formal attire.

As for what people should get while visiting Panera Bread, there are a few options. One of those options includes Greek salad and another option includes the Caesar Salad with chicken.

18. Chick-fil-A

The best choice to go with here is the grilled chicken breast, Besides that, diners can give the original chicken breast a try too. However, there are other menu options diners can try, but they should definitely give one of those two a try.

Is fresh fast-food something that sounds interesting? How about fast-food that tastes nothing short of amazing? If so, then definitely go to Chick-fil-A. Do order the grilled chicken because it tastes impressive.

19. BarBacon Union Square

BarBacon is located in Greenwich Village. It’s an American-style restaurant that serves breakfast, brunch, sandwiches and more. It is on the pricey side, but BarBacon provides a ton of value for the money.

For those who enjoy sitting down and eating, they should book a table if they want to go to BarBacon on the weekend. This tends to be the busiest time for them. The sooner one books a table, the better.

20. Burger & Lobster

The last on the list is Burger & Lobster, which is all about serving burgers and lobsters, but there are a number of other food items to order at Burger & Lobster. Seafood is excellent for those on the keto diet, which makes Burger & Lobster one of the top keto-friendly restaurants in the city.

With over 5,000 reviews on Yelp and the majority of them being positive, it’s safe to say people should definitely dine at Burger & Lobster.

Got More Places To Eat Keto in NYC?

Those are the top keto friendly restaurants in NYC. Those who are on the keto diet and plan on visiting NYC should definitely consider dining out at one of those restaurants.

If I am missing anything from this list, please let me know in the comment section below!

Share to save for later!


  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

Many people love to eat out. It means they don’t have to dirty up their kitchen, clean up afterward, or take the time to prepare a meal after a long day. It also means that you get to catch up with friends and family, or even enjoy a date night.

But if you’re on the ketogenic diet, then you know that walking into a restaurant and finding something keto-friendly to eat is not always guaranteed.

This is because many restaurants cater to an audience that wants cheap food that tastes good. If you’re concerned about getting a meal that contains high-quality meats, cheeses, oils, and low-carb vegetables, then you might have to do your homework first.

Luckily, we’ve prepared some tips to help you order a ketogenic or at least a low-carb meal at just about any restaurant you go to.

This article covers some of the most popular restaurants in the United States and how to order a low-carb meal there so you won’t be kicked out of ketosis.

Before you decide to eat out, you should at least know what to eat on a keto diet.

Warnings: Just because something is low carb doesn’t mean it’s keto-compliant. If you’re on a strict keto diet, you should try to stick to your keto plan and macros and avoid eating out for optimal results.

Most of low carb restaurant dishes and fast food options are not strictly keto, even though they are low in carbohydrates, they might still contain non-keto ingredients.

Tips When Ordering Low Carb Dishes in Restaurants

If you go to a mom and pop shop or a restaurant that’s privately owned, you might find better ingredients than a chain restaurant.

Many restaurant owners pride themselves on giving you a unique and personal experience complete with home-cooked meals from locally sourced ingredients.

But most franchise or chain restaurants don’t share this same mentality. Their primary concern is to feed as many people as they can for as cheap as possible. They hope you fill up on bottomless breadsticks and alcohol and pay less attention to the fact that many of the ingredients in your meal came from a can or highly processed.

It’s especially challenging to eat low-carb or ketogenic at a chain restaurant because you don’t always know what’s in your food.

Your meats are probably cooked in vegetable oil and marinated with sugar to make them taste better. They might be fried or come from low quality meats to keep the cost down.

Your choice of a side dish may consist of something starchy and heavy that came premade from a big supplier, such as potato salad, coleslaw, chips, or French fries. You can see how it would be hard to get the nutrients your ketogenic diet requires from most restaurants.

The good news is that most restaurants offer something that can get you by for a meal, even if it’s not listed on the menu.

Does the restaurant you’re eating at have lettuce and cheese? How about grilled meat or bacon?

If so, then that’s your low-carb meal for the time being. It’s not fancy, and you might have to do some custom ordering, but you can make it work at just about any restaurant you eat at.

Here are some other tips for ordering low-carb.

#1. Order breakfast if you can

Some restaurants stop serving breakfast around 11 AM or so, but then again some places serve breakfast all day. This is especially true for many coney islands, which are very popular anywhere you go.

If it’s available, try to order a breakfast dish that consists of an omelet, bacon, meat, cheese, and low-carb vegetables such as spinach, onions, and mushrooms.

If you order scrambled eggs from a restaurant, there is a good chance that they added milk to them to make the eggs fluffier. It’s always a good idea to ask before you order. Or have your eggs prepared over-easy or in an omelet. Hold the toast and hash browns and ask for a side of sausage or bacon instead.

Some places offer tomato slices in place of toast for no additional charge. You can also get a side of fruit if you’re following a low-carb diet, but most fruit cups come with melons and grapes, which are not keto-friendly fruits.

#2. Hold the sauce and bun

If you’re out for lunch or dinner, then you might want to grab a sandwich or a burger. Order one with lots of meat, cheese, bacon, and avocado (if it’s offered), and ask them to hold the bread and any sauce that comes on it.

The only safe sauce is mustard, but even that might contain artificial food coloring that you may want to avoid.

Most of the mayonnaise that’s offered at restaurants contains sugar and vegetable oils, so it’s a good idea to stay away from that, too.

Try a steak and cheese sandwich or a cheeseburger minus the bread and any sauce that comes on it.

Get a plain side salad with oil and vinegar dressing instead of the chips or French fries that usually accompany a sandwich. Or have them wrap your sandwich in a lettuce wrap.

Finally, make sure your sandwich isn’t breaded and fried. Grilled meat is always best because it contains the fewest carbs.

#3. Go with a salad

If there is nothing else on the menu you can order, you can always get a dinner salad and have them add lots of meat and cheese to it.

Just be sure to stick with low-carb vegetables like lettuce and watch out for any added ingredients that aren’t keto-friendly, such as croutons.

What Are The Best Restaurants for Low-Carb Dieters?

When we say that you can order low-carb at just about any restaurant, we mean it! As long as you know how to customize your order and how to say it, you can easily get a low carb meal.

Here are some of the most popular restaurants in the US and how to order low-carb at each.

#1. Applebee’s

With more than 1,700 Applebee’s locations across the United States so far, it’s safe to say that most Americans like to eat good in the neighborhood.

Although you’ll want to stay away from the pasta dishes that they just added to their menu, Applebee’s has a lot of steak and sandwich options that are perfectly acceptable on a low-carb diet if you know how to order them.

We recommend getting the eight-ounce top sirloin steak for 280 calories. It comes with your choice of two sides, so you’ll want to go with a side of steamed broccoli and a plain side salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing to keep it low-carb.

You can also try their bacon cheddar grilled chicken sandwich and have them hold the bun and BBQ ranch sauce. Instead of French fries, get a side of steamed broccoli or a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

You can also keep it simple by getting a grilled chicken salad. It comes with cheddar cheese and a hard boiled egg. If you want to make it extra tasty, then ask for some bacon to go with it. As always, be sure you stick with olive oil and vinegar or lemon as your dressing.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Applebee’s

#2. Domino’s Pizza

It’s a lot harder to eat low-carb at a pizza place than it is at other restaurants. But because there are so many pizza places like Domino’s in the US, it’s a good idea to know how to eat at one if you’re ever in a pinch.

In addition to pizza, Domino’s also offers salads and sandwiches. The kicker is that they are often premade, so you won’t be able to customize them much. But at least you can pick off what you don’t need. You can take a look at Domino’s sandwich collection here.

We recommend getting the Philly cheese steak and eating the insides of the sandwich. It comes with steak, American and provolone cheeses, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. If you order online, they have an option to get additional cheese and meat to help keep you full.

Stay away from their chicken bites or tenders as these are breaded and contain too many carbohydrates to be considered keto. If push comes to shove, you might have to scrap the toppings off a slice of pizza and avoid the bread. Grab a fork because it could get messy!

Domino’s has a MeatZZA pizza that comes with pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage, beef, and cheese. They also offer a side garden salad that you can get minus the croutons and dressing.

Scrape your pizza toppings off and add them to your salad. Your friends might look at you like you’re crazy, but at least you figured out how to eat low-carb at Domino’s!

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Domino’s Pizza

#3. Chili’s Grill and Bar

Chili’s is a Texas-inspired restaurant that features lots of spicy dishes that tend to be covered in sauce and served with sides that most ketogenic dieters can’t eat, such as French fries, beans, and rice.

They have a great collection of burgers, steaks, and fajitas that we suggest you focus on instead.

They even offer a guiltless grill section of the menu where you can get a meal for under 630 calories, but you’ll still need to customize it to make sure it fits your low-carb needs.

We recommend getting the six-ounce classic sirloin with grilled avocado. It comes with spicy citrus-chile sauce, which you’ll want to have them hold. Other items in the dish include grilled avocado, garlic-roasted tomatoes, and a fresco salad. Make sure the salad doesn’t have any dressing on it or ask for oil and vinegar instead.

You can also get chicken or steak fajitas and ask for double vegetables instead of rice. Most of the vegetables that come with fajitas are low-carb, such as peppers and onions. Be sure to avoid eating the tortillas and salsa that comes with the dish as it looks like the salsa might contain beans (it’s a good idea to ask your server what’s in it).

If neither of those dishes strike your fancy, then try a Boss Burger minus the bun, French fries, and BBQ and ranch sauces. It comes with smoked brisket, rib meat, jalapeno-cheddar smoked sausage, bacon and cheddar cheeses, and lettuce and tomato. We bet you won’t be hungry after eating that!

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Chili’s Grill & Bar

#4. Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is a difficult place to eat low-carb at, which is why we wanted to cover it on this list. Everything there seems to be fried and covered in gravy.

It’s not exactly a place you want to go if you’re on the ketogenic diet. But if your next family gathering is being held there, then you’ll need to know what to eat.

According to their website, Cracker Barrel offers breakfast all day (morning, noon and night). This is great news for low-carbers because you can get fresh eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese.

Try their double meat breakfast, which comes with three eggs and a full order each of bacon and sausage. The dish also comes with biscuits and jam, which you’ll want to avoid. Ask to have your eggs over-easy because most scrambled eggs have milk in them.

For lunch or dinner, you can get a country chef salad that comes with oven roasted turkey breast, ham, bacon, and cheese. It also comes with deviled eggs, which you might want to swap out for a plain hard-boiled egg to avoid any unwanted sugar in the filling. Also, ask to hold the croutons and get oil and vinegar dressing if they have it. If not, eat the salad dry or ask for a few slices of lemon.

Also try their signature burger, which features two beef patties, Colby cheese, and lettuce and tomatoes. Ask to hold the mayo, coleslaw, and French fries that come with it, and get a plain side salad instead (minus the croutons).

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Cracker Barrel

#5. Denny’s

Denny’s is a classic American restaurant that we bet most people have visited at least once in their lifetime. It’s similar to a Big Boy restaurant and is a good place to go when you need a cheap meal.

Their menu has come a long way over the years, but there is still a lot of junk that you’ll want to avoid on a low-carb diet, such as their cinnamon roll pancake breakfast. Because most locations are open 24 hours, you can always find something to eat there.

We recommend building your own grand-slam breakfast that comes with your choice of four sides. Choose eggs, bacon, sausage links, and ham, and stay away from the pancakes, oatmeal, and other starchy carbs.

An omelet is also a good choice because you can add whatever you want to it, such as cheese, meat, bacon, and even avocado.

Don’t forget the low-carb veggies such as spinach, onions, and mushrooms for more antioxidants and fiber. Ask for no toast or hash browns, or get an additional side of meat or avocado instead.

For lunch or dinner, go with a bacon avocado cheeseburger and ask to hold the bun and mayo. Denny’s also offers an eight-ounce garlic peppercorn steak served with garlic peppercorn butter or a wild Alaskan salmon dish that you can get with a plain side salad with oil and vinegar dressing and steamed broccoli.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Denny’s

#6. IHOP

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a seat at IHOP on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but because they are a restaurant that specializes in pancakes, eating here can be a low-carb dieters worst nightmare.

Luckily, most IHOPs are open 24 hours, so they offer things on the menu other than pancakes, such as omelets, salads, and sandwiches.

We recommend skipping right over their extensive pancake and waffle offerings and going for the big steak omelet.

Important note: For strict keto diet, you need to be careful as we heard that IHOP puts pancake batter in all scrambled eggs and omelettes to make them look fluffy! So ask them if they can skip the pancake batter. Otherwise, just order fried, over, or poached eggs instead.

It looks like it might come with hash browns rolled right into the omelet, so make sure you ask to hold this. In place of toast or hash browns, get a side of avocado, bacon, or low-carb veggies.

For lunch or dinner, try a mega monster burger which comes with two steak burger patties, American and white cheddar cheeses, and lettuce, tomato, and onion. You’ll want to ask them to hold the sauce and bun. For your side, pick a plain house salad without dressing.

IHOP also has a chicken cobb salad that comes with grilled or crispy chicken (be sure to get grilled chicken), bacon, a hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, and crumbled Blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Ask to hold the ranch dressing and get oil and vinegar instead.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at IHOP

#7. Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse is a great place to get a low-carb meal as long as you stay away from their famous bloomin’ onion and baked potatoes.

They also offer a lot of fried meat, so be sure your steak or chicken is grilled. They aren’t open for breakfast, but that’s OK because they offer plenty of meat dishes on their lunch and dinner menus.

We recommend ordering their grass-fed burger with aged cheddar. Eating grass-fed meat means you’ll be getting more healthy omega 3 fatty acids into your diet. The sandwich comes with garlic aioli, so be sure to hold this.

Instead of French fries, get a plain house salad with oil and vinegar dressing or try their grilled asparagus. You can also choose any one of their steak options and get it with a side salad or grilled asparagus in place of the French fries or baked potato.

If salads are your thing, then go with an Aussie cobb salad. It comes with hard boiled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, American and cheddar cheeses, and croutons (ask to hold these).

You can always ask to top your salad with grilled chicken or get a side of steak for more meat. As always, ask for oil and vinegar instead of the house dressing.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Outback Steakhouse

#8. Texas Roadhouse

Texas is famous all across the US for their bold and plentiful food selections. That’s why you’ll probably find a Texas Roadhouse near you no matter what state you live in. They specialize in steaks, which is good news for most low-carb eaters.

We recommend trying their road kill steak, which comes with a ten-ounce chop steak smothered in onions, mushrooms, and cheese. Get it with a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing in place of a baked potato or starchy veggies.

You can also get a half-slab or a full-slab of ribs, but you’ll want to order it dry and without the BBQ sauce to keep it low-carb. Again, make sure you stick with a house salad and avoid the rice, potato, and bean side dishes. They have plenty of chicken and burger dishes to choose from, but make sure your meat isn’t fried or coated in BBQ sauce.

Texas Roadhouse also has a gluten-free menu that’s worth checking out. You can get any kind of meat you want (steak, chicken, salmon, or pork) minus the sauce that it usually comes with.

It’s a good idea to tell your server that you’re sensitive to gluten even if you’re not to make sure they don’t put anything that has gluten in it on your food. Or try a grilled chicken or a steakhouse filet salad minus the dressing and croutons.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Texas Roadhouse

#9. The Cheesecake Factory

Surprisingly, the Cheesecake Factory has one of the most extensive menus around, which makes it a great place to eat no matter what diet you follow.

For low-carb eaters, we recommend getting the grilled pork chop with a side house salad in place of the applesauce, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

You can also get fresh grilled salmon or pick from one of six different steak options and get it with a side salad in place of all the starchy extras.

If chicken is your go-to dish, then try a grilled chicken and avocado club sandwich and ask for a side of bacon and a green salad in place of the French fries. You’ll also want to hold the bun and herb mayonnaise.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at The Cheesecake Factory

#10. TGI Friday’s

TGI Friday’s is similar to Applebee’s. It offers traditional American fare with pasta, steak, chicken, burger, and sandwich dishes galore.

We suggest getting the New York strip steak, which comes with a 14-ounce steak marinated and lemon butter broccoli. You’ll want to hold the mashed potatoes or ask for a side house salad with oil and vinegar instead.

They also have a bacon cheeseburger that you can get without the bun or sauce.

We noticed that a lot of their meats are covered in sauces and their chicken is fried, so be sure to order grilled chicken and ask for it dry or with a side of butter.

The only low-carb side dish we see on the menu is a side salad or lemon-butter broccoli, so swap your starchy carbs out for one of these.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at TGI Friday’s

#11. Starbucks

Coffee and sweet treats seem to go hand-in-hand, and Starbucks has lots of both. This makes it hard to grab something low-carb along with your caffeine.

In addition to making sure you don’t accidentally sabotage your ketogenic diet with a sugary coffee drink, you’ll also want to make sure the snack you get along with it is low-carb.

We recommend sticking with black coffee and cream when you order at Starbucks. You can also choose from one of their many teas, but stick with hot tea and stay away from anything sweetened.

If you can get a latte or cappuccino made with espresso and heavy cream only, then go for it!

You can also add a bit of stevia to sweeten it up. Otherwise, you’ll want to stay away from all mochas, frappuccinos, and sweetened drinks.

If you’re hungry, grab a double-smoked bacon, cheddar, and egg sandwich and toss the bread.

For a quick snack, you can get an eggs and cheese protein box. Just be sure not to eat the bread or honey peanut butter spread that comes with it. The box also comes with grapes and apples, which you’ll want to avoid if you’re on a strict keto diet.

Related: How To Order Low Carb at Starbucks

As you can see above, we’ve outlined 11 popular restaurants in the United States and how to eat low-carb at each. Below is a full list of all the restaurants that you can go to and customize your order for low carb options.

How Do I Find Low Carb Restaurants Near Me?

Here are all the famous restaurants available in the United States and some other countries. You can pretty much find at least one or a few of these near your location.

This list consists of all different types of restaurants such as fast food, fast casual, casual dining, premium casual, fine dining, barbecue, bistro, cafe and coffeehouse.

Just follow our tips in the beginning of this guide when ordering your meals at these restaurants. Click/tap on each name to read the full detailed guide:

  • 99 Restaurant & Pub
  • Atlanta Bakery Company
  • BJ’s Restaurants & Bar
  • Bahama Breeze
  • Bob Evans Restaurants
  • Boston Pizza
  • Buckhorn Grill
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  • Chevys Fresh Mex
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Church’s Chicken
  • Cicis
  • Claim Jumper
  • Corner Bakery Cafe
  • Culver’s
  • Dairy Queen
  • Del Taco
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
  • Disneyland
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Einstein Brothers Bagels
  • El Pollo Loco
  • Famous Dave’s
  • Fatburger
  • Five Guys
  • Golden Corral
  • Hardee’s
  • Hometown Buffet
  • Jack In The Box
  • Jamba Juice
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Jimmy John’s
  • Little Caesars
  • Long John Silver’s
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Manhattan Bagel
  • McAlister’s Deli
  • Mod Pizza
  • Nando’s
  • Olive Garden
  • P. F. Chang’s China Bistro
  • Panda Express
  • Papa Murphy
  • Papa John’s Pizza
  • Pei Wei Asian Diner
  • Pizza Hut
  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
  • Portillo’s Restaurants
  • Qdoba
  • Quiznos
  • Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
  • Red Lobster
  • Red Robin
  • Rubio’s Coastal Grill
  • Saladworks
  • Sbarro
  • Seasons 52
  • Shake Shack
  • Smoothie King
  • Souplantation
  • Sonic Drive-In
  • Steak ‘n Shake
  • Taco Bueno
  • The Habit Burger Grill
  • The Halal Guys
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Tijuana Flats
  • Waffle House
  • White Castle
  • Wingstop
  • Yard House


Eating out is great for most people because they don’t have to cook and they get to catch up with friends or family. But for ketogenic and low-carb dieters, eating at a restaurant isn’t always easy.

This is because most restaurants use a lot of crummy ingredients in their dishes, such as low-quality meats, vegetable oils, starchy and sugary sauces, and side dishes such as French fries.

No matter where you go, you should at least be able to get a salad with grilled meat. It’s even better if you can visit a steakhouse for a higher quality meat. If you’re stuck at a pizza place, then we recommend scrapping the toppings off your pizza and adding them to a bed of lettuce.

All other places should at least offer a chicken sandwich or salad that you can eat minus the dressing, sauce, and bun. The bottom line is you can always find something to meet your low-carb needs even if it’s just for one meal.

Finally, if you’re a very busy person and you don’t have time to cook or meal prep, you might be interested in these low-carb meal delivery services that deliver to your door. The cost might be higher but it will save you a lot of time from shopping and cooking.

Enjoy this list? Share to save for later!

The Essential Guide To Eating Out On A Keto Diet

Photo Credit: Getty


Eating out while sticking to a low-carb, high-fat diet may seem like a daunting task but with a little bit of planning, it’s totally doable.

Whether you are grabbing a quick drink with your work buddies, attending family dinner or enjoying weekend brunch with your friends, here’s how to navigate social dining while keeping your ketone levels in check:

  • Happy Hour: Being on a keto diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an occasional drink to decompress. The key is to choose low-carb options. Avoid tonic water and mixed drinks as they are packed with sugar. Also, steer clear of beers as most of them “contain gluten, which can be inflammatory, and are higher in carbs,” says Karissa Long, New York-based health coach and author of Clean Keto Lifestyle. So, opt for wine or liquor when possible. Long recommends dry red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinto Noir and dry white wines such as Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Clear liquors like gin, vodka and tequila are also keto-friendly, notes the nutrition expert.
  • Brunch: Traditional brunch dishes that you can enjoy even on a Keto diet include eggs with bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, steak and eggs and omelets. Other delish Keto options include stuffed mushrooms, ham and cheese breakfast roll ups, low-carb smoothies and low-carb breakfast muffins and pancakes. Meanwhile, stay away from OJ and any other kind of fruit juice as they have high sugar content. It’s safer to stick to water and unsweetened tea or coffee.
  • Work Lunches: Although bringing your own lunch to work is the best way to keeping a clean keto lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be the only option. Enjoy a lunch outing with your coworkers. Just remember these easy strategies:

  1. Look at the menu online prior to heading out. Going in prepared makes you feel less overwhelmed while browsing through the menu. Also, “remember that gluten- free doesn’t equal keto, so ask if there are any added sugars or grains in the dish you are about to order,” suggests Long.
  2. Base your meals around protein. Foods like eggs, steak, cheese or salmon are great options, says Long. Also, “add in healthy fats and veggies to round out your meal. Salads are great — ask for no croutons and opt for olive oil and vinegar in lieu of a sugar-laden salad dressing,” the health coach advises.
  3. Swap it up. If you’re ordering a sandwich or a burger, ask the staff to substitute lettuce wraps for the bun. Also, be wary of sugary sauces and condiments like ketchup, cocktail sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard and marinara. Opt for mustard, salsa, guacamole, mayo or hollandaise instead, Long suggests.
  4. Keep starches and grains off your plate to avoid temptation. While ordering an entrée, swap them with a salad or steamed veggies. “If no entrées on the menu seem to work, get creative and build a meal with appetizers or sides,” says Long.
  • BBQ: With grilling season fast approaching, it’s hard to resist the temptation to attend (or even throw) a backyard BBQ party. Fortunately, you can enjoy the outdoor barbecueing season without letting your diet fall by the wayside. Keto-approved options include sausage, brisket, smoked chicken, grilled fish, ribs and grilled low-carb vegetables. And opt for sugar-free seasonings and sauces (think mustard, creamy mushroom sauce, mayonnaise and plain yogurt) instead of teriyaki or BBQ sauce.
  • Buffet: Typically, a buffet offers lots of keto-friendly dishes to choose from. Think hearty salads, steamed veggies, grilled seafood and chicken. Just remember to stay away from starchy vegetables like beans, potatoes and parsnips and avoid heavy, sugar-laden salad dressings. For dessert, look for low-carb options like fresh, gluten-free fruit tarts, peanut butter pudding or sugar-free chocolate truffles.r
  • Dinner Or Holiday Parties: Feeling shy about attending that upcoming gathering or holiday party because of your ‘complicated’ diet? Don’t be! Just follow these simple, nutritionist-approved strategies:
  1. Don’t be afraid to communicate. If you feel comfortable with the host, give them a quick call well before the party. You will find that most hosts are completely accommodating if they have advance notice. “Let the host know you are on the ketogenic diet and not eating grains or sugars. If that feels uncomfortable you can tell them you have stomach issues and are avoiding grains and sugars,” says Long. You can also offer to bring something to the party. “If they oblige, you can bring a keto-friendly dish to enjoy,” adds Long.
  2. Eat before the event. “Enjoy a healthy, fat-filled keto meal before arriving. This will help pass on the bread basket and sugary dessert”, suggests the nutrition expert.
  3. Learn to say no. “No, thank you” is a perfectly acceptable response. “Don’t feel pressured to eat something you don’t want to or feel you need to make excuses,”says Long.

Lastly, don’t forget to have a good time! Be present with the people you’re hanging out with and don’t overstress. “Remember this is one meal. And it’s okay if you don’t eat 100% keto. You can always get back on track with the next meal,” Long points out.


  • Facebook6
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest115
  • Email

Wondering what the best keto fast food options are? Following a low carb diet can be tricky when dining out but don’t let your whole social life tank on account of your lifestyle. This ultimate keto restaurant guide is full of all the tips and tricks for eating out.

PIN HERE for later and follow my boards for more Keto tips and recipes

Tips For Eating Out On Keto

I have been following a mostly paleo low carb / clean keto lifestyle to help battle various autoimmune issues for about 3 years now and one of the questions we get asked the most is how to eat out when one member of your family is following a ketogenic diet and the others are not.

It’s actually not as hard to find keto fast food options as you think. Lots of restaurants these days cater to a variety of allergy and dietary restrictions.

When in doubt:

  • bring your own keto-friendly food
  • giveaway any sides or garnishes to someone else at the table (if possible) OR
  • eat ahead of time.

And here are some more tips and strategies that can help you stay on track and not cheat on your diet when you’re heading out to the restaurant:

What is Keto and what foods are allowed on keto:

If you’re new to keto and are looking for a more detailed guide on how to start a ketogenic diet and wondering what foods are optimal when following a keto diet, check out my comprehensive guide HERE.



Scope out the restaurant menu – if you know where you’re going to eat ahead out time, do some research and see if the restaurant has a website that includes the menu.

If the restaurant doesn’t have a website, check out Yelp or Google to see if their are reviews or if there’s a contact number, try calling the restaurant to see if someone can help you with any keto friendly meal suggestions.


One of the ways to ensure that you’ll stick to your diet is by bringing your own stash of keto-friendly snacks or food.

I often pack my own avocado, nuts or salad dressings with me when I want to load up on my fats and keep me feeling full if the restaurant doesn’t have a big selection.


  • Ask for a side salad or a double side of low carb vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, sauteed spinach, mushrooms, or green beans
  • Avoid common sides like: rice, baked potato, fries, mashed potatoes, pasta, noodles, sweet potatoes etc.


Don’t head out to the restaurant when you’re starving or hungry without being prepared otherwise, you’re more likely to make some less than optimal keto choices.

You can choose to eat something beforehand or pack some low carb snacks to take with you just in case.

Some people decide to skip the meal entirely by Intermittent Fasting (IF). I practice IF and you can read more about it here.


Certain types of restaurants are more keto-friendly than others (more options and open to substitutions):

  • Mediterranean / Greek restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Family friendly / chain restaurants – Applebee’s, Panera’s, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, Chipotle etc.
  • Steakhouses
  • Seafood restaurants

Soup/salad/sandwich places:

  • Salads are usually a low carb safe bet. Cobb, Caesar or salads with mainly leafy greens are all great options. If there’s an ingredient on the salad you do not want, try substituting for another ingredient or giveaway any ingredients on your plate that are not low carb / keto friendly.
  • Some soups like a broccoli and cheddar soup can be low carb as well. Look for hearty stews (preferably without thickeners) or soups that do not contain noodles.
  • If a sandwich looks delicious, you can ask them to serve it on a bed of greens instead of bread. Egg salad, chicken salad or tuna salad are some great options.

Less Keto-friendly restaurants (fewer options or less likely to offer alternatives):

  • Italian restaurants (smaller or not chain-type)
  • Burger joints / sandwich chops
  • Mexican restaurants (smaller or not chain-type)
  • Chinese / Asian restaurants (smaller or not chain-type – they usually add sugar or starchy sauces to their dishes)


1. Burger places:

  • Order an entree-sized salad – Caesar (minus the croutons) or Cobb or both great
  • Swap out a bun for a lettuce wrap or have the patty meat served on a salad instead
  • Avoid fries (even sweet potato fries) and opt for a side of celery, pickles, cucumber spears or a salad
  • Add avocado or another healthy fat to your burger

2. Mediterranean / Middle Eastern Restaurants

  • Grilled meats: chicken Slouvlaki, chicken Sharma, pork gyros
  • Grilled fish and seafood
  • Entree salads (minus any high carb vegetables) (check to see if dressing has sugar or ask for dressing to be served on the side)
  • Avoid hummus, couscous, tabbouleh, potatoes and rice

3. Mexican Restaurants:

  • Avoid rice, beans, chips & tortillas
  • Try ordering fajitas and asking for lettuce wraps instead of tortillas and extra meat instead of rice and beans
  • Guacamole, carnitas, Carne asada are all okay to order for keto
  • Grilled seafood
  • If dining at fast food like Chipotle, order a burrito bowl salad / taco salad and top it with meat, cheeses, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole

4. Italian Restaurants:

  • Avoid pasta dishes and look for those that are a “meat/veggie/carb” combo. Simply swap out the carb for an extra serving of veggies
  • Grilled fish, steak & chicken entrees (check to see if there is breading or sugar in the sauce)
  • Order entree-sized salads (ask for Caesar or ranch dressing on the side)

5. Indian Restaurants:

  • Order items with less gravy or sauce that way you can avoid naan and rice
  • Tandoori meats and kabobs are great options
  • Many restaurants add sugar, high-carb starches & creamy to their sauces so it’s better to check and ask.

6. Chinese Restaurants:

  • Stick to stir-fries (beef & broccoli, cashew chicken, chicken and broccoli) (ask if they could leave out sweeteners or high carb starches for the sauce. If they won’t accommodate just ask for no sauce & to just season with salt and pepper instead)
  • Avoid noodle dishes and fried rice
  • Roasted chicken & duck are some great choices
  • Steamed fish
  • Curries are a great choice and instead of rice, you can ask for some lettuce wraps instead
  • Rib or meat soups minus the noodles

7. Thai Restaurants:

  • Stir fries: chicken, pork or beef (ask if they could leave out sweeteners or high carb starches for the sauce. If they won’t accommodate just ask for no sauce & to just season with salt and pepper instead)
  • Coconut curries (minus the rice & serve with lettuce)
  • Soups: (minus any root vegetables)
  • Leafy green salads (minus sugary sauces or high carb vegetables)
  • Avoid noodle dishes and fried rice (no Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, Pineapple Fried Rice or Basil Fried Rice

8. Japanese Restaurants

  • Stick to sashimi or tataki (minus sugary sauces or soy sauce)
  • Sushi-rolls minus the rice
  • Chicken, steak, salmon or shrimp entrees minus sauce (ask if they could leave out sweeteners or high carb starches for the sauce. If they won’t accommodate just ask for no sauce & to just season with salt and pepper instead)
  • Avoid edamame, noodle dishes and fried rice

9. Pizza places:

This can be a hard one, but more and more pizza places are offering low carb crusts:

  • Order a salad instead and top with meats and cheeses
  • Sometimes, it’s worth staying away from pizza places. When the craving for pizza hits, you can make delicious pizzas at home using cauliflower crust and all the toppings you desired

With those ideas in mind, try to suggest keto-friendly restaurants for meals out with family and friends. Explain to them that this will help you stay on track with your weight-loss and health and ask for their support.

10. Sports bars / pubs / wing joints

  • chicken wings (no breading)
  • Grilled chicken, steak, pork, lamb chops – no breading
  • Grilled salmon or shrimp (no breading and ask for no sugary sauces)
  • Bunless burger or serve patty meat on a bed of salad
  • Entree-sized salads (ask for Caesar or Ranch dressing on the side)


Sometimes, you can’t avoid hitting a fast food drive-thru line when you’re out with friends or traveling. While it’s best to bring your own keto snacks when possible, here are some tips to stay on track if you are heading out to these popular fast food places:

1. What to order at McDonalds when eating Keto:

  • Order grilled unbreaded meats served without the bun and on lettuce wraps (grilled chicken burger, hamburger, quarter pounder, big mac etc.) with any sauces on the side
  • Aim for leafy salads minus high carb vegetables or croutons (Caesar / Ranch sauce/dressing on the side)
  • Avoid breaded meats, wraps, buns etc.

2. What to order at KFC when eating Keto:

  • Order grilled chicken or grilled chicken burger without the bun and on lettuce wraps
  • Aim for leafy side salads minus high carb vegetables or croutons (Caesar / Ranch sauce/dressing on the side)
  • Avoid breaded chicken, wraps, buns.

3. What to order at Subway when eating Keto:

  • Order tuna, egg or chicken salad (minus the bread) over lettuce / spinach and include low carb vegetables with cucumber, green peppers, avocado, boiled eggs, bacon and olive oil
  • Ask for dressing on the side: Olive oil, Caesar / Ranch

4. What to order at Pita Pit when eating Keto:

  • Order tuna, egg or chicken salad (minus the bread), chicken Souvlaki, chicken Schwarma, grilled chicken over lettuce / spinach and include low carb vegetables with cucumber, green peppers, avocado, boiled eggs, bacon and olive oil
  • Ask for dressing on the side: Olive oil, Caesar / Ranch

Just say “no”

If the restaurant is not so keen on substitutions (which most are) you can simply set it aside or give away those carbs to a dining buddy if possible. If not, just ask the waiter to not include something. It’s better to not even see if than be tempted to eat something sitting on the table

And yes, saying no to a bread basket is a thing.

When it comes to beverages, stick to water

Sodas and sugary beverages are a big no-no

Skip the dessert menu or bring your own

Chances are, all of the desserts on the menu are not keto-friendly.

You’re better off skipping dessert altogether or bringing your own keto-friendly treat (fat bombs, keto cookie) from home.

If the whole party is getting dessert and you don’t want to be left out, ask if they can serve a berry platter or veggie tray with celery, broccoli and cucumber.

Final Notes:

Unsure? Ask the staff or look at nutrition facts

Sometimes it can be daunting to tell your waiter about your dietary restrictions but they handle this stuff all the time. Luckily, lot’s of menus include nutrition facts for you to make smart decisions, but also, there’s no harm in asking the staff!

Be prepared for surcharges

Eating healthy can come at a price. When you get charged to modify your meal, as annoying as it can be, stick to your why and remind yourself why you choose this healthy lifestyle.

Do the best you can with what you got

We’re human and it can be hard to adhere to rules 100% of the time. If you slip up, accept it and realize tomorrow is a new day.

Dine at restaurants or take-out places that are low carb friendly

Pita Pit, Panera’s, Chipotle, Qdoba, Whole Foods Salad Bar or other grocery store salad bars, TGI Fridays, Applebee’s, Chili’s are great at accommodating and offer lots of low carb options.

This one can be tricky because you are not always in control of restaurant choices, but encourage your friends and family to eat at places that accommodate you. Chances are, your friends and family will be supportive of your lifestyle decisions.

If you are completely out of control, however, that’s when you can be creative and customize your own meal.

It might not be the best dish in the world, but hopefully, with these tips above, you can create a meal that suits your needs!

More Keto guides:

Intermittent Fasting 101

The Best Keto Foods to Buy at Whole Foods

The Best Keto Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

Keto Pantry Shopping Guide

How to Get Back into Ketosis Fast

How To Start The Ketogenic Diet Guide

Low Carb and Keto Diet Restaurant Options & Tips

Everybody likes going out to eat, and there are plenty of easy ways to enjoy a night out while staying true to your low carb goals. Regardless if you’re on an Atkins plan or a similar keto diet, there are plenty of great options that are low in carbs and big in flavor. Both Atkins and keto activate your body’s fat-burning metabolism by restricting carbs, so people following either diet will be looking for the same types of meal choices. If you’re planning a night out, here are some keto friendly restaurants and menu picks:

Olive Garden
Topping off our list of keto restaurant options is the Italian staple, Olive Garden. If you are in the
mood for seafood, we recommend the Herb-Grilled Salmon (460 calories, 28g total fat, 8g
carbs, 4g fiber, and 43g protein). This fish filet is bursting with flavor as it is grilled to perfection
and topped with garlic herb butter. It also comes with a side of delicious parmesan garlic
broccoli. If fish isn’t your thing, we recommend giving the tasty Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini a try
(90 calories, 7g total fat, 5g carbs, 1g fiber, and 4g protein).

Chili’s, the home of flavorful Tex-Mex and American cuisine, is a great spot for something that
isn’t easily replicated at home. This bar and grill provides several options for those of us eating
keto at restaurants. If you’re in the mood for some Mexican flavors and spices, we recommend
ordering the Chicken or Steak Fajitas (440/640 calories, 14/38g fat, 21/21g carbs, 3/3g fiber,
and 59/55g protein) and enjoying without the tortillas or toppings. Instead of getting rice on the
side, a double order of vegetables will be a great complement. We suggest boxing half of it
to-go for lunch the next day to cut down on carbs. If you’re not in the mood for Mexican on your
night out, you’re in luck! The House BBQ Ribs are another keto friendly option. A half rack of
ribs without sauce will account for 720 calories, 53g total fat, 11g carbs, 1g fiber, and 49g

Buffalo Wild Wings
Wings, beer, sports, AND low carb choices. That’s why Buffalo Wild Wings is one of our favorite
keto restaurant options. Now, we can’t recommend you grab a beer, but the snack size
Traditional Wings with Medium Sauce (390 calories, 23g fat, 0g fiber, 1g carbs, and 44g protein)
should do the trick! These wings will taste great while keeping you on pace to meet your keto
goals. We also advise you to check out the BWW nutritional guides, as many other sauces and
dry rubs are low in carbs!

Get your Italian night on with another keto eating out option, Carrabba’s. Our first choice would
be the Tuscan Grilled Filet (590 calories, 44g total fat, less than 1g carbs, 0g fiber, and 47g
protein). This juicy piece of meat is loaded with flavor while low in carbs. Another great option is
the Pollo Rosa Maria (620 calories, 37g total fat, 4g carbs, 1g fiber, and 65g protein). Grilled
chicken is stuffed with creamy fontina cheese and cured prosciutto, then topped with
mushrooms and basil lemon butter. Make sure to get vegetables as a substitution to pasta on
the side!

The Cheesecake Factory
A place filled with desserts can’t possibly have low carb or keto restaurant options, can it? Of
course, it can! The Cheesecake factory is a fantastic keto friendly restaurant. With several
options to choose from, we recommend the Pan Seared Branzino with Lemon Butter (1130
calories, 93g fat, 22g carbs, 5g fiber, and 50g protein). This rich Mediterranean sea bass will hit
the spot!

Red Robin
Red Robin is the home of fresh, fire-grilled burgers. Not only is their food packed and full of
flavor, but it is also perfect for a keto or low carb lifestyle. The Wedgie™ Burger (560 calories,
35g total fat, 22g carbs, 5g fiber, and 40g protein) is our go-to. This lettuce wrapped burger is
topped with smoked bacon, house-made guacamole, tomatoes, and red onions. Who needs
fries when your burger comes with a side salad. This meal is perfect for anyone trying to fulfill
their Atkins or keto goals.

Red Lobster
If you’re in the mood for some seafood on your night out, Red Lobster is a delicious keto
restaurant option for you. The steamed Live Maine Lobster (440 calories, 34g fat, 0g carbs, 0g
fiber, and 33g protein) has zero carbs (nice!) and is full of protein. If you’re feeling surf & turf and
are able to still meet your daily goals with some added carbs, you can’t go wrong with The Rock
Lobster & 12 oz NY Strip Steak Combo (1,250 calories, 83g fat, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, and 97g

P.F. Chang’s
P.F. Chang’s makes food from scratch every day, offering a few low carb and keto dining out
picks we think you’ll love. Our first recommendation would be the Asian Caesar Salad (410
calories, 30g fat, 21g carbs, 4g fiber, and 15g protein). You can either add salmon (240 calories,
16g fat, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, and 22g protein) or chicken (160 calories, 5g fat, 4g carbs, 0g fiber,
and 22g protein) to get that extra protein boost. Make sure to leave off the croutons and put the
dressing on the side. Another delicious meal that’s low in carbs is the Shrimp with Lobster
Sauce (500 calories, 27g fat, 22g carbs, and 38g protein).

A Few Tips For Going Keto At Restaurants:
Now that you know which keto friendly restaurants exist, it’s time to get out and treat yourself. If
you’re going out for dinner at a restaurant that’s not on this list, we have a few tips to keep in
mind when eating out keto:
1. Plan ahead! If you’re going out to eat, check the menu online ahead of time. You can
also ask for nutrition information when you arrive. By law, restaurants must have that
information available, making it easier than ever to make smart choices.
2. Meat and veggie options are your friends! These will typically be your best bet for low
carb and protein-rich food.
3. Condiments like ketchup, BBQ sauce, and honey mustard tend to be high in sneaky
carbs. If you need to add flavor, we recommend yellow mustard, ranch dressing, hot
sauce, or butter.
4. Many entrées are served with a starch on the side, so opt for a side salad instead.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter or waitress about keto friendly or low carb options!

Get ready to enjoy your night off from cooking! For more Atkins dining tips, make sure to check
out our article library full of low carb advice.

The Keto Way to Eat at Sit-Down Restaurants

Hero Images/Getty Images

If you’re new to the ketogenic (keto) diet, the idea of dining out may seem overwhelming. Truth is, keto is one of the easiest diets to maintain when you’re eating outside your home. In today’s food allergy and sensitivity landscape, many restaurants are more than willing to work with unique diet requests, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Follow these guidelines for eating out on the keto lifestyle:

Cooking dinner shouldn’t be complicated

Sign up for our daily newsletter, Well Done, for expert cooking tips and foolproof recipes from your favorite food brands.

Skip the starches

Banish the bun. Many sandwiches and burgers will work just fine for keto eaters if you skip the carb-rich buns or bread. Ask for a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce or served naked. It’s basically just a hamburger steak, after all. Check that the protein isn’t fried or dipped in a carb-rich coating. Substitute fried chicken for grilled in sandwiches, for example.

Pass on the potatoes and rice. If you’ve found grilled chicken with veggies and potatoes on the “light’ menu, ask them to double the steamed veggies and skip the starchy side. The restaurant may even be willing to sub the potatoes or rice for a salad. You can load it up with healthy fat-rich olive oil for a deliciously easy keto meal.

Say ta-ta to tortillas. Fajitas are an easy keto-friendly option when you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Just ask them to hold the tortillas and substitute guacamole salad for the rice or side of black beans. Likewise, most taco fillings are keto-friendly, so just eat the meat and toppings and skip the shells. If the tortillas are too tempting, ask them to just serve the filling on a bed of lettuce.

WATCH: What Is The Keto Diet?

Be smart about sauces

Since you’re not in the confidence of your own kitchen, you have to use your strongest carb-detecting skills. Spreads, gravies, and dipping sauces are often completely keto-friendly, but they can be a sneaky source of flour and sugar. White gravies, for example, use flour as a thickener in almost every case. Hollandaise gets the thumbs up; cocktail sauce does not. Flavored mayonnaises and aiolis are always a safe bet; sriracha has sugar, but it’s okay in small doses.

Ask the server if the sauces served with your dish have either ingredient. If they aren’t sure, sub for something you know is safe, like ranch or blue cheese dressing or aioli. If you think it’s safe and just want to taste it first, ask for it on the side.

Add a healthy fat

With keto, you always need to look for ways to add more fats to your meal. After all, keto isn’t just a low-carb diet plan; it’s primary focus is eating lots of fat throughout the day.

Thankfully, it’s easy to find delicious ways to boost your fat content in restaurant meals. Ask for melted butter to drizzles over veggies. You can also ask them to make your side of steamed veggies “loaded” with sour cream, cheese, and bacon. For burgers or pieces of grilled chicken, ask for a fat-rich sauce like salad dressing, mayonnaise, avocado slices, or a side of guacamole.

If you’ve got a side salad, ask for extra-virgin olive oil. If you’re not sure the oil is really EVOO, go for a creamy option like ranch, blue cheese, or Parmesan. Some restaurants use soybean or sunflower oils in place of EVOO. They’re OK, but they sometimes contain a greater proportion of omega-6 fats. Too many omega-6s can lead to inflammation. Plus, the flavor isn’t as rich and powerful as true EVOO.

Ditch dessert

You might be tempted to fork into a piece of Death by Chocolate cake if everyone at the table is splitting a slice. Sure, a bite won’t set you back entirely, but it could set you up for some serious cravings later.

Provide yourself with a safe keto-friendly dessert out. Order coffee with cream, and sip slowly while everyone dines on dessert. If you want a bit of sweetness to end the meal, ask for a cup of berries with a side of cream. Mash them together for a sweet pudding-like treat.

You can also ask if the restaurant serves a cheese plate for dessert. Many come with keto-friendly berries, so you can still nibble but not splurge on sweets.

Be creative

Some restaurants may pose a serious problem unless you’re able to get very creative with your options. Italian restaurants, for example, may not have much that doesn’t come on a bed of pasta. Many Italian sauces, like bolognese, however, are totally keto friendly. Ask for a bowl or cup of sauce to be served like soup with a side of steamed veggies. Sprinkle with a hefty bit of Parmesan for a delicious option.

At pizza joints, you may struggle to find an option that doesn’t come on a crispy crust, but pizza toppings get the keto thumbs up. Scrape the toppings off, and let someone else finish off the crust. Better yet, search their appetizer menu for keto-friendly options like chicken wings or creamy spinach dip. Eat with celery or carrots instead of carb-loaded chips.

Safe requests for keto-eaters when dining out

Mexican: Order fajitas without tortillas; double the guacamole salad to replace rice or beans.

Italian: Get the antipasto platter if they offer one. These often come with cured meats, olives, cheeses, and sometimes even seafood. Salads are often safe and may come loaded with olives, meat, and cheese. Ask them to hold the croutons or crispy toppings. In a pinch, grilled chicken or steak with a side of steamed veggies will work.

American: Burgers are a go-to keto-friendly option. Ask them to hold the bun and serve as a fork-and-knife meal. Instead of fries, ask for a salad or side of veggies if they have them. Chicken wings with a side of celery or carrots and a cup of ranch or blue cheese is also a safe bet.

Pizza: Check out the appetizer menu for a keto-friendly option like a dip you can eat with celery or carrots or salad. Wings are also a great options, but only if they’re not coated in a crispy crust.

Seafood: The sky’s the limit here. Just make sure the sides aren’t starch-filled. Substitute rice, potatoes, or any pasta with steamed or roasted veggies and a side of melted butter.

Japanese: Hibachi gets the keto thumbs up. Just ask them to hold the rice and double up on the ginger salad.

Sushi: Hand rolls are your best bet because they’re easy to eat without the rice.

Thai: Coconut soup is a good option, as long as they don’t include tofu or rice. Likewise, coconut curries are a great source of fats; hold the rice, and ask if they’ve added any sugar. Larb is often keto friendly—it’s even served in lettuce cups. Satay can be approved as long as the sauce has no added sugar.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *