Just because you’re eating keto doesn’t mean you need to stay in and cook every night of the week. Believe it or not, there are lots of options that make it entirely possible to eat out safely, without ever once taking your body out of ketosis. It all starts with common sense. Follow a few simple rules, and you’ll be just fine.

1. Keep an eye on your GPS. (Grains/Potatoes/Sugar) By avoiding these basics, you’ve already won half the battle. The good news is, it’s fairly easy to avoid these items without making a big deal out of things. In that fine restaurant avoid the bread basket. When ordering ask if you can substitute a salad for that potato. And at the buffet, give those items a miss.

2. Add the healthy fats. Ask for butter (yes, you CAN have the butter) and add it to your veggies. Put vinegar and olive oil liberally on your salad. Enjoy these things as much as you like – though you’re going to want to be wary. Ask and make sure that the restaurant is using real butter. And verify just what that oil is in the carafe that comes with your salad. Better safe than sorry, as the last thing you want to start adding, is margarine or vegetable oil to everything.

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3. Be wary of the sauce. The last thing you want is something loaded with sugar or flour. Never be afraid to ask the ingredients. Believe it or not, your wait staff has usually been trained to know these things – and if they don’t know? They likely know who to ask to find out. Also, have them put the sauce on the side. That way you control the amount, not them.

4. Choose your drink wisely. Coffee, tea, water, or sparkling water are your best bets. If you want alcohol, then be cautious – there’s a lot of hidden carbs in mixed drinks, and a lot of empty calories in many of them. Choose a lite beer or a drink mixed with tonic water or seltzer.

5. Enjoy dessert…coffee? If the others in your party are set on ordering dessert, this would be the best solution – maybe decaf or tea if it’s late. If you really want a taste of something, how about berries in heavy cream? As always be aware of your sugars and eat cautiously if you’re going to indulge at all.

While going out for a pizza might not look the same anymore (eat the toppings, not the crust) or Chinese food seems impossible (go with the chow mein, or the duck if you’re careful on the sauce) most places will allow you to eat out without a lot of substitutions. Salads are everywhere, and the rest just takes a little creativity to make it work. Thankfully there’s a lot of options out there for dining out, and restaurants are geared toward making things work for you – after all, you’re the customer. You CAN eat out, and still enjoy the experience. All it takes is a little creativity.

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