We’ve all been there, Keto Friends; we’ve all had nights out on the town where we've not had a clue what we can and cannot drink, or been invited to house parties where it’s seemed like none of the food laid out is within the diet’s parameters. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create a brief guide explaining what you can eat and drink in these situations, so that you can remain both Keto and Social!
Firstly, drink. We note that though there are benefits to staying entirely alcohol free on a Keto diet- alcohol can inhibit the body’s ability to burn fat, it can make you far hungrier, and your hangover the following morning will likely be far worse- you can still drink it and remain Keto if you choose to. There are, however, rules that must be followed:
- Make sure to eat a Keto friendly meal before eating
It goes without saying that loading up on carbs before going drinking can kick your body out of Ketosis, so eating a meal high in healthy fats and protein is an absolute must before heading out.
- Pick the right type of Alcohol
As just one example, many types of Beer hide a great number of Carbs in their make-up, so it is generally best to avoid them. Dark Wines, too, can also impede progress if consumed. Whiskeys and Vodkas, on the other hand, have next to no carbs at all, so they may be the wisest drinks to go for- though we stress, in responsible amounts.
- Calories matter just as much as Carbs do, so make note of your Caloric intake
Don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re opting for a low Carb option; though it is indeed the thing you want to keep track of most of all, Calories can also quickly lead to weight gain if you’re not closely monitoring them. It pays to look into alcoholic beverages that are not only low carb, but also low calorie as well.
- Be wary of Heavy Pours
Each kind of alcohol has a standard serving size, and going over these serving sizes can also throw your diet into jeopardy. At home, this can be fairly easy to keep track of using a digital scale (and brushing up on the serving sizes for your beverage of choice, but on a night out, this can be a lot harder to keep track of unless you keep a close eye on the bartender preparing your drinks.
- Practice the “One Drink” Rule
One way of mitigating both the rate at which alcohol impedes your ability to burn fat, and avoiding the dangers of having one too many large serving size drinks, is to practice moderation; limit yourself to a single alcoholic beverage on a night out, and a total of about three alcoholic beverages per week. If you reach your target weight, or you are able to successfully maintain ketosis, you may be able to up your alcohol intake slightly- though we recommend not pushing it too far and going overboard.
- Be Wary of Non-Alcoholic Mixers
Picking Vodka as your alcohol of choice isn’t going to help much if you pair it with a mixer that’s high in sugars or carbs- juices and most fizzy mixers like Tonic or Cola, for example, are right out. However, Seltzer and Soda water are fairly safe options in comparison, and if Bars offer it you may be able to pick a sugar-free lemon and lime or fizzy alternative that you can have a small amount of. Again, however, this may be easier to track and manage when drinking in a private setting, so that is worth baring in mind.
Food is, naturally, a little bit simpler then that. If you’re a seasoned Keto vet, you already know to avoid foods that are extremely high in carbs and what said foods are, and beginners will do well to make note of them to make sure they avoid them. Fatty foods that are low in carbs are absolutely your best bet- meats and cheeses are your friends here, so do sample the cheese board and pick at the little cocktail sausages. Note that Hard Cheese is more Keto Friendly then Cream Cheeses or Soft Cheesed, however. Depending on the contents, Salad can be a safe bet- if it’s a leafy greens based one, at any rate, you’re good to go. Nuts are also a reasonably safe bet, particularly if the nuts on offer are Peanuts, Cashews, Brazil Nuts, Almonds or Pecans.
In regards to full fledged meals, you’re going to want to stick to meals with a good balance of protein and fats. Meals centred around red meats, such as Beef or Lamb, are a safe bet, particularly when paired with leafy green vegetables or vegetables that grow above ground, such as Broccoli or Cauliflower. And, of course, fish based dishes are wise, so long as it’s fresh fish rather then battered- this can be a great way to up your Omega 3 and Omega 6 count, as well, so long as you are sensible about it.
Vigilance and careful thought is key, but try not to let any of this get too much in the way of a good time! Further research on the subject to help you determine what is Keto and what isn’t is absolute encouraged, as this is more of a basic guide to get you started.