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Eating Keto at Restaurants

By July 11, 2017February 7th, 2021Camping and Travel, Nutrition Education

Eating Keto at Restaurants

When did it become so common to eat out? I remember that eating out was a rare Friday night treat. Now if you walk into a restaurant at the lunch hour it is packed! Flavor determines what we eat on a daily basis. I understand that people want to eat delicious food; I do too. That is why I wrote Keto Restaurant Favorites; to give you the flavors your palate is screaming for yet keeping your body healthy and in ketosis. A keto diet doesn’t have to be deprivation. I feel that making our favorite restaurant meals at home actually taste better and fresher anyway! The other night I made a few batches of my Protein Noodle Lasagna (recipe found in Keto Restaurant Favorites) and as we gobbled it up while watching Master Chef Jr. my son said, “Can I have another bowl? It is the best food ever!”

Just hearing that made all the work of making it worth while! You don’t get that sense of joy and fulfillment from picking up chicken nuggets or junky fast food marketed to kids. Sure, it takes time to make healthy meals but I find it totally worth it when I know I am feeding my family well!

And my passion is making traditional restaurant favorite foods that are tasty ketogenic nourishing foods. This book is to help you feel encouraged and empowered to take control and understand that you deserve this and you do not have to live off of salads or live at the gym. If you are willing to take the time to prepare meals will feel like the amazing self you are meant to be!

Click HERE to find Keto Restaurant Favorites! Thank you for your love and support!

I was telling a friend how we went to have crab at a local crab restaurant and when the crab arrived I asked for real butter. The young waiter scurried to the back and when he came back he said, “We don’t have any butter but we do have this vegetable oil blend,” he stated proudly… as if butter was going to kill us.

HUH? A restaurant with no butter? We packed up our crab to go and picked up butter at a market so we could enjoy a picnic outside. Crab just isn’t right without butter!

Also beware of sugar free desserts such as the Low Carb Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. They use Splenda to sweeten their cheesecake which I mistakenly ordered for years and was stuck at a weight I wasn’t comfortable at. When I cut Splenda out of my life I lost 7 pounds in a WEEK! No lie! Splenda has maltodexterin in it to bulk it up so it measures cup for cup like sugar. Sugar has a glycemic index of 52 and maltodexterin has a glycemic index of 110! No wonder I didn’t lose weight eating desserts like that! Click HERE to read more on sweeteners. 

Top Tips for Eating Keto at Restaurants

“Food can be the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” Ann Wigmore


If you do choose to eat out while maintaining the keto lifestyle here are my top 10 picks:

1. Omelet

Many places serve omletes for lunch also which I adore. Just be aware of the fillings such as beans. Choose ketogenic fillings such as mushrooms, onions, cheeses, meats. My favorite is Ham and Emmentaler Cheese with a side of house made hollandaise for dipping.


TIP: An omelet always sounds like a safe option when eating out but think again. Here is another thing you may not be aware of; some large breakfast chains such as IHOP adds pancake batter to their omelets. That’s right – they add sugar, carbs and WHEAT to their eggs for the omelet base for “fluffiness”… yuck! A spinach and mushroom omelet at IHOP is 24 carbs and 7 grams of sugar! That just isn’t right.

HEALTHY OIL TIP: Ask them to cook your omelet in butter instead of vegetable oil which most restaurants do.

2. Poached Eggs Benedict

Skip the bun. I often order eggs benedict and skip the bun and sub in extra hollandaise. My eggs benedict is often served with a side salad, 2 slices of ham, 2 poached eggs and a large side of hollandaise. That way I don’t worry about what oils the eggs are fried in.

Tip: make sure the hollandaise is homemade and not made from a powdered mix.

3. Hamburger on a Side Salad: Skip the bun. Order a hamburger with a large side salad with a salad dressing with no sugar (Ranch, Blue Cheese, and Italian). Bonus points if you bring your own salad dressing.

Beware of hidden sugars such as BBQ sauce basted burgers, caramelized onions made with soda. Yes I wrote that right, some restaurants caramelize their onions with Coke.

4. Sandwich on a Side Salad: Ask for no bun or fries and sub in a large salad. I have even ordered a Reuben over a large salad.

TIP: Beware of hidden sugars in dressings such as Thousand Island.

5. Salmon with Broccoli: Skip the starch of rice or potatoes and ask for a non starchy vegetable such as Broccoli. Smother it in extra butter.


6. Steak and Mushrooms: Again, skip the starchy potatoes and ask for a ketogenic vegetable such as sautéed mushrooms.

  1. Bonus points if you choose a ketogenic cut of steak. To see a helpful chart on the best cuts see page ……
  2. Skip the steak sauce which is filled with sugar.

7. Chicken Alfredo and Other Pasta Dishes: Ask them to skip the pasta and put the sauce over sautéed broccoli. Even at popular chain Italian restaurants I have enjoyed chicken Alfredo and Shrimp Scampi over broccoli instead of pasta.

  1. Tip: make sure the Alfredo is not made with a roux; which is when they add flour for a thickener.


8. RAMEN and PHO SOUP: I love getting Pho soup at this Vietnamese restaurant in Minneapolis. I ask them to not put any noodles in the soup and instead they do extra cabbage that they sliced extra thin which reminds me of noodles.

  1. Beware of what type of soy sauce the restaurant is using. Are they using true fermented soy sauce or Americanized sauce that has gluten added.


9. Thai Food: I adore going to Thai restaurants; sure it takes a long time but that is because they are making everything so fresh. I often get Thai food and sub out the noodles for sautéed cabbage noodles. Tom Ka Gai soup (Coconut Chicken Soup) is one of my favorites.

  1. Beware of added sugars which some Thai Restaurants add. Ask them to not add sugar to your dish.


10. Nachos on lettuce. I love nachos and one local restaurant called San Pedro makes these awesome nachos that they serve over bite sized romaine lettuce and we use the crispy leaves as our chips. I have asked for this at a variety of restaurants and they all have been very open to my request.

11. Sushi: Sushi can be a great choice if you skip all the rice and get sashimi style.

  1. Beware of what type of soy sauce the restaurant is using. Are they using true fermented soy sauce or Americanized sauce that has gluten added.
    1. Bonus points if you bring your own Coconut Aminos or organic Tamari Sauce.
  2. Craig often likes to go to get “healthifed” sushi (sashimi, no rice) with Micah. While he was there he overheard the sushi chef tell the waiter to try the sushi rice because yesterday someone else made it and it didn’t taste good. He said he adds over 3 quarts of sugar to each batch of rice, which equals to be 34 grams of ADDED sugar per cup of rice! We never eat rice but that sure is another reason not to!

12. Crab, Lobster or Shrimp with BUTTER: This is always a tasty choice as long as the butter is really butter and not a vegetable oil mixture.

  1. Ask for a side salad or sautéed keto vegetable on the side such as broccoli.

13. Sausages and Brats with a side of sauerkraut

  1. Beware of Bavarian Sauerkraut which has added sugar

14. Fast Food Option: The only place I would recommend as a fast food option would be Chipotle. I recommend getting lettuce, layered with your choice of meat, topped with sautéed bell peppers, salsa and guacamole (sour cream and cheese if not dairy sensitive).

These are just a few ideas of what I have ordered at restaurants. There is no place I can’t go to and decipher a menu to make it keto. One tip I suggest is to look at the menu online beforehand and plan out what you are going to order before you go. Stick to your plan and do not get tempted or influenced by your friends or waiter on ordering unhealthy options.

The more keto we become the less desire we have to eat at restaurants. I’m sorry but they never give me enough sauce anyway! I prefer my food at home so I make sure the ingredients are impeccable! So if you want to make your favorite restaurant classics at home, check out my book Keto Restaurant Favorites! You won’t be disappointed!

Thank you for your love and support! 



“Drum roll please!!!  Here are my results from the 30 Day Keto Cleanse:

Grand Total:  -18# / -14.75″

Days 1-7: -9.8# / -6.5”

Days 8-14:  -5# / -3.75”

Days 15-21:  +1.2# / -2.5”

Days 22-30: -4.4# / -2”

I intermittently fasted everyday for the past 30 days, providing myself with an eating window between 4-7 hours.  I did NOT exercise during this time, and I also did NOT follow the meal plan 100% after week 2.  Instead, I mixed and matched to provide myself with less time in the kitchen, but made sure my macros were in check.  I did one prolonged fasting for 42 hours at the end of week 2, but I’m not sure that will be something I do often.

What I’ve learned:

1) I need to keep flexing my willpower muscle through the rough patches.  I am strong!!

2) My accountability partner (PPP) is priceless!  Thank you Lori Klingsporn Moran for inspiring me to start this adventure and for always being an invaluable source of support and motivation!

3) I DON’T need alcohol to have fun!

4) Life continues without sugar, dairy, nuts and alcohol!

5) I can survive on 2 meals per day!

6) Maria’s and Craig’s Keto recipes are delicious, sustaining and easy to follow!  The information/education/coaching they provide in their books and through online support is paramount to success!  Thank you!

7) It’s okay to listen to my body and to not force ideas of perfection.  Being flexible, yet prepared, is important.  I will incorporate exercise when I’m ready.  I will not take supplements unless I ABSOLUTELY find it’s necessary — I don’t like how I feel when taking them.

8) Patience is needed during this journey — I didn’t pack on all of this unhealthy weight overnight.  It’s going to take time for my body to adapt to this WOE.

9) My sweet spot for losing weight is to keep my calories below 1200 per day (when not exercising), protein between 50-80g and carbs at 20g or less.  The rest will fall into place.

10) There’s so much more to add, but suffice it to say that I am happy with continuing this journey and look forward to where it’s going to take me.

Keto on fellow Ketopians!!!”

Most people I consult are doing keto totally wrong. Get fast results with the 30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse book. Click HERE to find it on SALE today! 
 Thank you for your love and support!
Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Hillary Empfield says:

    I just got the notification that the book is waiting for me in my mailbox! I’m so excited, ha ha! I KNOW it will be another great cookbook. As I type this I’m finishing up my leftover Bangers and Mash from your Keto Comfort Foods book. SO, so good! Thanks for the excellent tips in the post.

  • Amy says:

    Jimmy John’s has an “Unwich” on their menu that is really pretty good. You can get any of their sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap. You can also ask to have it double wrapped in lettuce for extra crunch.

  • You mentioned Best cuts page but didn’t provide a page reference. I always choose New York or Top Sirloin.

  • Cindy says:

    I received my Keto Restaurant Favorites today !! I am in the process of creating my menu for next week while we are on vacation. The recipes sound SO good!!
    Thanks for another great book😀

  • Jane says:

    Got my new book in the mail yesterday! There are SO many great looking recipes!!!! Today I settled on making the Chicken Enchilada Soup. From my little tastes as I cooked, I can tell this is going to be a winner. Happy cooking everybody.

  • Mariah says:

    Just received my book today and already made the “shamrock” shake- delicious! So excited to try the other recipes. 🙂

  • Robin says:

    Love having eggs Benedict minus the muffin sub in sautéed spinach.

  • Susan says:

    Great article! What is in that little Staub pot though? Looks incredible!!

  • Rebecca Gardiner says:

    Great ideas! I’ve started a trend among my friends of ordering a Caesar salad with a piece of grilled tuna on top when I’m out to lunch. I’ve also made the happy discovery that Subway will take any of their sandwiches and, instead of putting it on a bun, will make it into a chopped salad. 🙂 Gets me through the gauntlet of fast food joints when traveling on the road.

  • Amanda says:

    Just got my book Keto restuarants favorited a few hours ago, couldn’t put it down, probably hundreds of people reading the same book right now. Lol Can’t wait to try out the recipes. Will try the Chinese Lemon Chicken first (’cause I have all the ingredients) the potstickers and wontons will be after! You have put a lot of work into this book as with the others, thank you, thank you! This really helps me to stay on track

  • Celia says:

    Try eating at a restaurant when you’re dairy intolerant. Dairy is hidden in EVERYTHING! Can’t ask for clarified butter ; they just give you a blank stare. So I just bring my own ghee or ask for their inferior olive oil.

    • Diane says:

      My daughter has a life threatening dairy allergy, goes into anaphylaxis. Been that way her whole life. There are only two restaurants in town we would trust to prepare food for her. I cooked dairy free for twenty two years. The Keto cleanse cook book is perfect for those with dairy allergies. Hubby and I were planning on going out for dinner tonight but I would rather eat at home, the food is better, even though it means I have to cook. 😄

  • krickt says:

    I just got mine in the mail today too!

    Hey, Maria, I’m usually pretty good at getting keto foods at restaurants, but there are some chains (that have apples in their name) that use wheat based seasonings on all their meats. I couldn’t order any meat dish. I’m celiac and can’t have even a tiny bit of gluten in my food, and this was disappointing.

    I’ve also had to give waiters and chefs lessons on what has gluten and carbs and what doesn’t. I asked for low carb veggies once at a steak house and was given corn with margarine. I sent it back and asked why I couldn’t have broccolli with sea salt and butter, and was told that butter wasn’t gluten free. Geeze.

    If you get slices of cheese on your food, remember sometimes they put flour between the slices to make them easier to handle. I’ve been contaminated at the very best restaurants in OK/TX/KS/CO.

    It is getting sooooo hard to eat out, but then again, my budget keeps getting tighter and tighter, so I guess that I’m better off cooking for myself anyway.

  • Kelly says:

    I love getting a Wendy’s triple without the bun with a side salad.

  • Linda Schneider says:

    Thank you–great article!

  • Steven Emmerich says:

    Just learned recently that some restaurants put sugar in the pho broth.

  • Great article! If you ever come to the Cleveland, Ohio area here are a few restaurants not to miss that cater to this way of eating: Town Hall on West 25th near our Westside Market, Cafe Avalaun near Beachwood and Core Life in Strongsville. Check out their websites. We are so happy to have them here in our home town. There is also a place in Columbus called Bareburger that wraps your grass fed local farm burgers and pasture raised grilled chicken in collard greens and serves it up with fermented slaw.

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