Eating Out on Atkins: Real-life restaurant tips from Atkins Success Stories

When you think about starting a low-carb weight-loss plan, many people assume that indulging in a delicious meal at their favorite restaurant will soon become a thing of the past. Not so fast! Eating out while on Atkins can be just as easy, enjoyable and satisfying as before. Take it from the following folks, who have all lost an impressive amount of weight while continuing to eat out while following Atkins.

Start with salad. Vegetables are low in net carbs and packed with fiber, which means they are a great start to any meal. “Always have a salad first, with as many greens as possible, before your main entrĂ©e, and you will avoid over doing it.” Monica Patino (Lost about 46 pounds)

Bring your own. Many people keep mini bottles of hot sauce or their favorite spices with them, and season their restaurant meals as needed when they eat out. “When you go out to a restaurant, take your own dressing with you for your salad so that way you know exactly how many carbs you are getting. Just take an old vitamin bottle and fill it with your favorite dressing and pop it in your purse or pocket.  Yes, you might get a strange look, but the looks you’ll get when you are thin are worth it.” Terry Elkins (Lost 103 pounds)

Know your triggers... and avoid them. Make a plan in advance on how you will avoid potential carb-filled pitfalls at your meal. And stick to it. “Dining out is so easy on Atkins. By now I know what I can have, and what is a trigger food. Don't feel bad asking to substitute the fries or potatoes with broccoli or Brussels sprouts. I am constantly saying, ‘Please hold the croutons.’ You have to do what you have to.” Andrea Morgan (Lost 105 pounds)

Ask for a substitute. Restaurants are in the service business. As long as you are polite to your server, he or she should be more than happy to accommodate most requests. “When dining out, do not be afraid to ask to substitute items or have it made how you want it! I always request a salad instead of the potato or extra veggies in place of the chips or pasta. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate a customer's request!” Emelie Jurgens (Lost 89 pounds)

Master the art of fast food. You may find yourself at the fast-food drive-thru more often than you like, thanks to busy work schedules, after-school sports and more. It certainly is not a bad idea to cut down on your fast-food visits, but if you do go, there are options. “As far as eating out, I have three little kids who love fast food. I have come to love Wendy’s because they have no problem making a double hamburger without a bun and letting me substitute a Caesar side salad for French fries. My kids stay happy, and I can stay on my plan.” Randy Fisher (Lost 80 pounds) 

Stay hydrated. And have a snack. Sometimes hunger can mimic thirst. And even a small snack before you go out to eat will also help quell any cravings for trigger foods. “Grab a large water and drink it down, plus have a string cheese or unsalted/salted peanuts or walnuts. Always look at the nutritional value and fiber, but several mini low-carb nuts contain 2 to 4 net carbs.” Cheryl Lynn Wolf (Lost 50 pounds)

Be adventurous. Get creative with the restaurant menu and choose new low-carb foods you may have never tried before. “We still travel a good deal and that is where we choose to be more adventurous with our food choices. On a trip to Los Angeles last fall, I discovered I absolutely love a roasted rack of lamb. We still choose the lower carb choices. Whole-wheat bread, for instance, instead of a higher carb type of bread. We usually avoid such things as gravy, and are selective about sauces, but believe me when I tell you; we eat well! And, most importantly, we truly enjoy what we choose to eat!” John (Jack) Clements (Lost over 200 pounds)

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Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.