Dining out on Keto. How to Tame the Top 5 Most Common Carb Cravings

Carb heavy meal
Dining out on keto can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

You can’t achieve anything in life without a small amount of sacrifice.Shakira.

With all due respect, has Shakira ever tried following a keto diet? I doubt it.
If she had, she would’ve replaced “small” with something more relevant.

Say, large, great, enormous, or even ungodly. Because what else would you call it when you have to give up burgers, cakes, and pizzas? And yet sometimes you must do it. For many reasons — your health, your sanity, and your reflection in the mirror.  Because these hips don’t lie. 

Taming carb cravings

Giving up burgers and tacos is a remarkable step, but how can you get there when eating out with your loved ones is an integral part of your life. Substitute your favorite dishes with their low-carb counterparts.

Challenging but not impossible, that way, dining out on keto can become a thing. Moreover, if you want a pizza, you’ll get it. This week’s featured keto foodie, John Cornish of KetoWatt, will show you how to replace your favorite high-carb dishes in a keto fashion.

#1 Pizza

Keto-friendly pizza
Ask your local pizza spot if they have low-carb versions.

So, you’re a fan of pizza. If, as luck would have it, you live in Chicago, forget the words “large” and “sacrifice” which I mentioned before. Here’s a brief story of our savior:

Nearly eight decades ago, a young guy named Lou started to work in Chicago’s first deep dish pizzeria. Thirty years later, the nobleman Lou Malnati opened his first eponymous pizza spot in Lincolnwood, one of the Chicago suburbs. Now, his sons share eighty years of family pizza expertise across 56 locations in Chicagoland.

For ravenous keto eaters, they offer their famous deep dish “crustless” pizza with lean sausage as the base. No dough involved, only house-made meat base, zesty sauce made from California tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella made from the same small Wisconsin dairy as 40 years ago.

Of course, all the toppings are customizable to your taste.
Is it worth it? 

Some r/keto Redditors say that they traveled to Chicago just to taste Lou Malnati’s famous pizza. The rest is for you to decide. For locations and more info, visit Lou Malnati’s official website.

General advice: Not all of us live in Chicago, including me. Luckily, other pizza joints also offer so-called “no dough” options. Beware of cauliflower-based pizzas—they oftentimes have more than 10g net carbs per serving (Lou’s crustless pizza has 2g carbs per serving).

Never mistake “gluten-free” for “carb-free.” The best option is to ask your local pizza spot whether they provide low-carb pizza. The keto craze is soaring, and many pizzerias have jumped on the bandwagon.

#2 Cakes

Keto-friendly cakes
Some sugar-free cakes are sweetened with stevia, which can kick you out of ketosis.

What do lemon chiffon cake, chocolate mousse cake, and strawberry banana cake have in common?

Aside from that, they sound like something you should stay a good 500 feet away from when on keto, they actually contain 23g fat, 7.6g protein, and 2.5g carbs per slice.

How on earth is this possible? To find out, you need to do three things:

  • Step 1. Get on a plane to L.A.
  • Step 2. Find Rocco’s Cheesecake.
  • Step 3. Enjoy the tastiest keto cakes in the most tastelessly decorated location.

Speaking of Rocco’s—both the website and the joint itself are designed so utterly badly that they are, in fact, strangely alluring. A weird choice for a first date, this spot is a savior for those who want to enjoy the taste of a good old cake when eating out with friends. Tip: call ahead for daily cake availability.

General advice: If flying to L.A. is not what you’ve planned for the weekend, you might try calling your local bakeries to see if they offer keto options. But be extremely careful because many places list carbs per bite-sized servings.

Sometimes sugar-free cakes are sweetened with sugar substitutes. The majority of natural and artificial sweeteners don’t mess up a keto diet.

However, many fellow keto Redditors reported that using stevia (natural sweetener, zero carbs) kicked them out of ketosis for a period of time. 
So far this seems like an individual trait, but you might avoid stevia if you’re especially vigilant about your diet. 

#3 Wraps

Beef wraps
Try using lettuce leaves instead of tortillas.

Shiver me timbers if I’m going to promote lettuce wraps. Not that lettuce is bad for keto, but it’s just boring (plus, I’m saving this green buddy for the section about burgers, hah).

If you were so encouraged after reading part 2 about cakes that you’ve already booked a plane to L.A., don’t rush to buy a return ticket — you might need to spend one more day in the La-La Land.

The reason is Wild Living Foods (WLF), a diner in the middle of downtown that doesn’t respect tomatoes. A normal diner chops tomatoes into a salad, mashes them into some sauce or at least serves them raw. A normal diner doesn’t mix tomatoes with coconut powder, and then it doesn’t dry this mass in the sun to get bizarre low-carb tortillas.  

That’s why nobody cares about so-called normal diners who are afraid to add a modern keto twist to their cuisine. Luckily for low-carb devotees, WLF has shifted that boring lettuce-wrap gear. Not rubbery, with just the right sweetness, their tomato-coconut house-made wraps might become a new fashion in the keto-friendly fast food industry.

General advice: Everything that can be wrapped in a tortilla can also be wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Pay a visit to your local fast-food chain—sometimes they do it even if it’s not listed on their menu.

#4 Burgers

Keto approved burger
Bunless burgers with green leaves are a perfect solution to tame your burger cravings.

Craving a burger happens. If you’re anything like me, this happens at least once a week. First, you imagine those crunchy pickles with either sour or sweet savor. Then you picture a slice of American cheese, melted down by a well-done grilled beef patty, which lies on an onion-tomato bed, and all this is covered by…

And I wish it was covered by my insurance, but in my keto reality, this masterpiece is covered by a lettuce leaf, both on top and on the bottom.

Which is not bad, given how I like keto. Bunless burgers with green leaves are a perfect solution to tame your burger cravings. Sometimes you can even go hardcore and not use a knife and a fork. So rebellious!

In fact, you can go to any fast-food chain, order a burger, and just remove the bun. However, I dislike the idea of paying for something I’m not going to eat.

That’s why my favorite spot is Wendy’s—they can wrap any burger in a lettuce leaf, and they won’t judge you for that. My favorite dish is the Baconator, partly because of its name, and partly because it has two bacon-cheese-patty layers with 768 calories and only 4g total carbs when wrapped in a green leaf (sans bun).

General advice: Pretty much every fast-food chain that offers burgers can replace the bun with a lettuce leaf or at least just remove the bun. If it can’t, why do you still go there?

#5 Tacos

Tacos
If you crave a taco, opt for a grilled cheese low-carb tortilla.

Would you believe me if I said that New York City is the keto-friendliest taco bastion?

If not, you should pay a visit to one of the four Los Tacos No. 1 locations. Wait until the queue runs into the hallway, and then ask for the grilled cheese low-carb tortilla. Those guys who are now stuck behind you in the queue will be excited!

Well, jokes aside, this place is a gem for all keto fans who can’t live without tacos. They don’t mention it on their website, but every single item on the menu can be served in a cheese tortilla. When a cashier asks you whether you want a corn or a flour tortilla, smile deviously at him and ask for the grilled cheese one. His genuine grin will be your best reward.

And this time I’m not kidding—the staff here are really friendly. Maybe they keep these cheese tortillas a secret simply to maintain such a hearty atmosphere? Or maybe to hold thousands of hungry ketoers away from eating up all of their cheese supplies? I don’t know, but I highly recommend that everybody visits this place ASAP.

General advice: It’s hard to imagine something less keto-friendly than tacos, and yet low-carb tacos are real. But I don’t know any other good taco joints that are suitable for keto.

Do you know some? Share them in the comment section below! (And if a spot doesn’t serve low-carb tortillas, going there makes no sense. Tacos without wraps are called salads, thanks cap.

The Bottom Line

To tame a fox, you need to put the proper food out every day. To tame carb cravings, you need to put the proper food in. Every day. 

But sometimes you just can’t help putting away that pizza, and that burger, and a couple of those tacos. So what? Now you have five legit ways to indulge your carb cravings without actually eating carbs.

But one question is still unanswered: how can you substitute lasagna? Do you have any ideas?

About John Cornish:

I write about food, nutrients, keto diet, and everything related to good health and sanity, and reside on KetoWatt. Welcome on board!

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