Thursday, June 12, 2014

Be prepared!

With any low carb diet, it is crucial that you be prepared with food on hand, or at least a list of appropriate restaurant options. I know that when I get hungry, I get cranky, and the most common argument (discussion, really) Kent and I have is when we are trying to figure out what to do for dinner, and the more indecisive we are, the hungrier and crankier we get! It's a frustrating spiral.

For foods to keep on hand at home, I have created a standard keto grocery list ready to go in a spreadsheet, so my shopping is easy every time. Here it is, for your reference. If you'd like, you can modify the spreadsheet in Excel to add columns for each of the grocery stores in your area, and keep track of the prices on items to see which store has the best deals. This is called a price book. Keep in mind that sometimes places like gas stations and drugstores actually have better prices on certain items than grocery stores do, so keep your eye out! I have not yet made a price book, but it seems like a good idea. A little extra work seems to be worth it in the long run, because eating low carb isn't cheap, and any way to save helps. My grocery shopping is typically split between Hy-Vee, Walmart and Aldi. I like to stock up on certain things when I can make it to a Trader Joe's, but the closest one is two hours away.



Sometimes though, we get busy and realize that we really need to go grocery shopping, but we are hungry right now, and need to go out to eat. I made a list of restaurants in our area that we already like, and the best low carb options at each place. I encourage you to do the same, since every town has different options. I folded this list up and put it in my wallet. Next time I am ravenous, I won't have to rely on my starving brain to come up with ideas when I'm desperate. Here is my list- maybe some of the options will work for you too.

Baked fish with butter sauce and slivered almonds, steamed veggies from Highway 63 Diner.

House salad with creamy garlic dressing, cheese curds from Highway 63 Diner.
I only have the carb counts listed for a few of the items on the list below. Feel free to do the research- I was just going with the basic criteria for us- mostly gluten free with a high calories from fat ratio.

All-American
Highway 63 Diner: baked fish in butter sauce, steamed veggies, cheese curds, double bacon cheeseburger without a bun, house shredded salad

Pepperjax: Double steak rice bowl, minus the rice, with mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Add mushroom sauce and au jus.

Village Inn/Perkins: Steak or pork chop and eggs, with cottage cheese, omelettes

Famous Dave’s: naked ribs, brisket, or any meat with tiny bit of sauce, salad or veggie sides

Texas Roadhouse: chopped steak with salad, veggies/salads

Buffalo Wild Wings: wings without sweet sauce

Lonestar Steakhouse: garlic steak medallions, creamed spinach

Domino’s: wings without sweet sauce

Asian
Chinese buffet: any meat without breading, veggies like cabbage, green beans, cooked to order hibachi, mayo baked mussels

Hu Hot: any combination of stir fry without noodles (use cabbage)
Sauces, per ladle:
0 carbs- ginger/garlic broth, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce
1 carb- soy sauce, lemon/lime juice, hot chili oil/garlic oil
3 carbs- Five Village Fire Schezwan, Khan’s Favorite, Mean Bean Garlic, Yellow Belly Curry
4 carbs- Black Thai Peanut, Sweet Chili Sauce
5 carbs- Beckster’s Ginger, Kung Pao Yow, Samurai Teriyaki

Deli
Jimmy John’s: Italian Nighclub Unwich

Sub City: Sub in a tub

Fast Food Burgers
Hardees: Low carb thickburger

McDonalds: double cheeseburger without ketchup, mustard, or bun, add extra onions, shred lettuce and big mac sauce

Italian
Marco's Pizza: meatball bake- add extra cheese

Olive Garden: garden salad without croutons (6c), Antipasti meats and cheese salad topper (1c) Roasted parmesan asparagus (7c), Grilled Chicken Spiedini with creamy alfredo (4c), Steak Toscano (11 c), Herb Grilled Salmon (9c), Steamed broccoil (2c)

Mexican
Las Margaritas: ribeye y mas with chile relleno, guacamole

Fiesta Jalisco: Shrimp in lemon juice, carne asada

Ribeye y mas with chile relleno at Las Margaritas. We skip the rice and beans, and add guacamole to our steaks. 
The best way to avoid succumbing to desperate carb cravings is to be prepared. That means either with food on hand at home, with a ready-made grocery list to stay focused and avoid impulse buys, or with a list of keto friendly dining options. It takes a little bit of effort up front, but you will be rewarded again and again for planning ahead! 

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