Just because you’re living a low-carb lifestyle doesn’t mean you need to stop going out to eat every once in a while! Restaurants don’t always offer a great variety of low-carb options, but if you know how to order, you can turn almost any meal into a low carb meal.
Here are eight tips to make eating out healthy while on a low carb diet as easy as cooking at home.
Before you leave for the restaurant, read through the restaurant’s menu online. Deciding what to order before you sit down allows you to make a healthy, informed choice and can help you avoid making a last minute unhealthy decision.
Eating a light snack before you go out to eat can help prevent you from overeating at the restaurant. Choose something that’s healthy and filling but that won’t ruin your appetite, such as veggies and guacamole or a few turkey or ham roll ups .
Many restaurants offer complimentary bread or baskets of tortilla chips to start off the meal. If you have a hard time resisting the temptation of the break basket, politely tell the server that you don’t need the basket or ask if it would be possible for themto take it away earlier than usual. If bread or chips come with salsa, hummus or guacamole, ask if you can substitute sliced veggies instead.
When a meal comes with fries, pasta salad or other high carb sides, substitute low carb or veggies like asparagus or broccoli. Most of the time, restaurants will be more than happy to accommodate your request.
Be mindful of your salad ingredients; don’t order salads that come in a shell (like a taco salad) and go easy on add-ins like croutons and tortilla strips. Additionally, be sure any meat you get with your salad is grilled, not breaded. If you are in the beginning phases of your low carb diet also avoid fruits higher in carbs like grapes and mango.
Ditching the bread or bun when you order a sandwich can save you a lot of carbs. Oftentimes, a sandwich can be made into a salad or lettuce wrap; just ask. Otherwise, limit yourself to the sandwich filling, or take off one slice for an open-faced option if you are in the later phases of Atkins.
Ordering breakfast? Avoid waffles, pancakes and French toast (even oatmeal) and order a low-carb omelet or scramble. Ask for a side of fresh fruit (berries or half a grapefruit are good low carb options) instead of hash browns or breakfast potatoes.
At Italian restaurants, skip the pasta and pizza sections on the menu and head straight for the protein-based meals. Choose a chicken, fish or beef dish instead of one that features pasta for a hearty but lower carb meal.
With a little forethought and healthy decision making, you don’t need to feel guilty about going out for dinner. When you’re eating out healthy, it’s easy to stay on track and still eat deliciously!