Low Carb Restaurant Ordering Hacks

A La Carte

Skip the lunch special. Go to the small menu with sides dishes, appetizers, and meat by weight. Ordering two seem to be enough for me.


They are expensive, but you will have access to a large number of low carb options, and not only meats. There may be only five vegetable options… but that’s probably three more than your options from the restaurant a la carte menu.

Skip the potatoes.

Chinese fast food

This is really like a small buffet. Skip the rice bowl or the combo specials, which are almost all carbs. Go a la carte. What I like:

  • broccoli beef (tbh, not authentic, but probably the best CA dish)
  • fried chicken (skip the specials with bread and french fries!) (note that fried chicken is fairly high in carbs)
  • chop suey (steamed veggies)
  • kung pao chicken
  • char siu or teriyaki chicken (it has added sugar, so go easy)

There’s also Mexican steam tables, and Filipino steam tables. Same principles.

If you’re fortunate to be around some Hong Kong style Chinese restaurants, the “Chinese Items” section of the menu has a lot of lower carb options. These are things like tofu and mushrooms with vegetable, roasted pork, Chinese broccoli, soy sauce steamed chicken, roasted duck, etc.

If you are around a mainland Chinese immigrant community, you will find hot pot restaurants. These are keto, if somewhat expensive.

Mexican meat markets (carnicerias) with delis

Many Mexican meat markets have a small kitchen where they make stews, roasted meats, and other items. You can buy food by the bowl or by weight.

This pattern is replicated at other ethnic markets.

Prepared salads from the supermarket

These things aren’t really full meals, but you can combine the prepped salad with additional ingredients to make them more interesting.

You don’t need to buy the additions at the supermarket – you can get them at the ethnic markets.

Bunless Burgers/Lettuce Wraps

An old keto trick. You can ask for this at most fast food places, and they’ll accomodate.