Trying to dine out in your favorite restaurants and staying LCHF can seem like a very difficult task, particularly at first, but if you plan ahead it’s definitely a fun possibility. Of course, when you are eating LCHF, you’re probably going to cook a lot more and eat more of your meals at home, but it is possible to enjoy the occasional treat, such as a night out with friends.
The basics of a LCHF diet (meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, vegetables, heavy cream, butter, mayonnaise, nuts) are likely going to be available in many forms in your favorite restaurants, but it’s important to keep a close eye on non-LCHF additions to the restaurant meals such as bread, flour, starches such as pasta and potatoes, sweeteners such as sugar and honey and grains. You may feel like you’re being a bother to your server when you go out and insist on LCHF-friendly options, but don’t worry, they’re used to it. Eating out when you eat LCHF is similar to eating out with food allergies, gluten intolerance, paleo or any other specific diet. Restaurants are willing to accommodate you.
1. Order your meat without sauces, or ask for the sauce on the side. Many chicken and beef dishes come covered in various, potentially unidentifiable sauces, and they are likely not LCHF-friendly.
2. Choose side-dishes carefully, or leave them off altogether. You can replace the common, potato-based sides (mashed potatoes, French fries, baked potatoes, and the list goes on), with extra vegetables. Just make sure your vegetables, like your meat, aren’t covered in sauces that contain sugar or flour. If you can’t get extra vegetables that are in line with your LCHF diet, just leave them off altogether. Ask that no bread be bought to your table.
3. When ordering seafood avoid batter-coated or flour coated items and bread crumbing. Avoid anything deep fried as its sure to be coated in flour or batter. Ask for steamed, sauteed, baked or roasted and ask for it to be cooked in butter only so that you avoid processed vegetable oils. Specify the coatings you want to avoid.
4. Mexican restaurants are a great choice for eating LCHF. You can order dishes such as tacos or fajitas, without the tortilla, and enjoy all the meat or seafood and veggies. Guacamole generally works well for those on a LCHF diet. When ordering at a Mexican restaurant, it might be best to ask your server to leave off the tortillas and leave out the rice and beans entirely, to avoid the temptation of having them lying on your plate.
5. When going out for sushi, you can often order specially-made rolls that don’t involve rice. There are also rolls included on many menus that are only wrapped in a thin slice of cucumber or seaweed only.
6. Enjoy just one glass of dry red or white wine with your meal and avoid cocktails and beer. If you want 2 glasses of that delicious wine make sure that for the rest of the day you eat as low carb as possible (have a zero carb breakfast and lunch). More than one glass of wine and your willpower may break down!
7. Research restaurants in your area ahead of time, so you have a ready-made list of LCHF-friendly dining options. Most restaurants have menus posted on their websites, so plan ahead and choose what you’ll eat and how you’ll order it before going to the restaurant. This will take the guess-work out of the process, that can often lead to the temptation to stray from your LCHF lifestyle. If you’re really ambitious, you can make several lists. One list for restaurants close to work, one for restaurants close to home, one for inexpensive dining options, one for more expensive options, etc. It’s also a good idea to include several LCHF-friendly options on each restaurant list to avoid burnout.
With a little planning, you can enjoy a night on the town and stay LCHF!