If like me, your brain goes straight to the thought of not being able to have takeaways while following a low carb keto diet then I’m here to help. While ordering food from a takeaway restaurant isn’t 100% the best thing to do while trying to keep your carbohydrate levels low, sometimes you just need to do your best. Here are some of the better options to choose if you’re looking for a low-carb keto takeaway.
I have to say it, as a responsible supporter of the low-carb keto lifestyle. No takeaway is going to be 100% perfect. Unless you ask each and every restaurant you plan to order from for a complete breakdown of the ingredients for each of their dishes then you just won’t know. You then have to weigh all the ingredients to know your macros and it just takes away from the whole reason you wanted to order in to begin with. These are the best of the bunch and even then, it’s down to each individual restaurant.
The Ones You Just Can’t Have
I’m going to come straight out and say it, there are just some takeaways that you can’t have and you need to accept that. If you want to follow a low-carb and/or keto lifestyle then these are an absolute no-no.
Fish and Chips
There is no way around this, at least not from a takeaway point of view – the fish is battered, the chips are too high in carbs and don’t get me started on everything else. You may have a local who gives the option to have a batterless fish but then you need to check the oil they’re fried in and at the end of the day is it really fish and chips if it isn’t battered?
This is a case of if you are fancying proper fish and chips you either need to face the consequences of it knocking you out of sync or give a low-carb fish and chip recipe a go.
This one is also obvious. Your only real option is to order it, eat the toppings and throw the bread away – not exactly cost-effective and certainly won’t hit the spot when it comes to a pizza craving. Some places have been known to do a “keto pizza” by removing the crust and just sending you the cheese and toppings but again, it’s cheaper to do at home. Also, please take care if you do decide to order in from one of the big places, they often have chicken sides which might sound keto, such as wings or strips, but they’re often coated in flour or cornflour before being fried.
Your options here are using a fathead dough or, something like a meatza (a meat crust pizza – recipe coming soon).
Low Carb/Keto Chinese Takeaway
So, Chinese is a difficult one because you just don’t know what they’ve added to sauces, coatings or dips. Sugar and cornflour feature heavily in Chinese takeaways including honey so you either need to contact the takeaway to get an exact ingredients list or play it safe.
This is one of the safest meals to order as it is primarily egg and vegetables, with a choice of meat. Some places will offer duck too which is a great choice of fatty meat.
Most ribs will come in some sort of sauce, make sure you check first. BBQ, lemon, honey, OK, Peking and sweet and sour sauces are all heavy on the carbs so should be avoided. Any others such as chilli and garlic or salt and pepper need to be asked about if you are to order them, also be aware of how the ribs are originally cooked – some will be cooked in a marinade, to begin with. Dry ribs tend to be ok BUT if they’re not cooked well then you’ll be looking chowing down on meat that isn’t so good.
Aromatic Crispy Duck
As previously mentioned, duck is great keto meat due to its high-fat content, so a plate of it is an obvious go-to. They come with cucumber and spring onions which are fine but the issue lies with the pancakes and hoisin sauce, you can either omit this or make your own beforehand. A simple keto hoisin sauce can be stored in the fridge and there are many pancake recipes to be found, however, even simpler is boiled/steamed cabbage leaves. Using the whole, cooked, leaf as a wrap makes a good alternative and at the end of the day, the pancakes are just a vehicle for the fillings anyway.
Most Chinese takeaways have a “starters” section on their menu which are smaller dishes and you do need to be wary of these as many will have coatings or batters.
Low Carb/Keto Indian Takeaway
The hardest part in finding a keto-friendly takeaway boils mainly down to the side dishes, more so in Indian cuisine than others. Rice, chips, naan bread, samosas, bhajis and poppadoms are just a few examples of what you come to expect when you order from an Indian restaurant. If you’re looking for a low-carb Indian then you’ll have to make allowances for these either by not having them or by swapping them out for alternatives such as cauliflower rice, oopsie rolls or swede chips – which at that point you might as well make your own. However, here are a few options that are the safest on this lifestyle and similar to the Chinese dishes, it’s certainly worth giving the restaurant a call to check their ingredients
This is probably your safest option. Tandoori dishes tend to be marinated meat (or paneer – Indian cheese) and vegetables. The main ingredients of the marinade are yoghurt and spices to give that authentic taste as well as ensuring any meat you order is tender.
I know, most people are thinking of curry when it comes to ordering from an Indian takeaway. By default, most curries are pretty low-carb friendly – they’re either a cream or a tomato base with plenty of nuts and spices. A korma is your best bet when it comes to a higher fat curry as they’re made with cream and almonds, two staples of most keto diets, but there may be added sugar to it that ruins the beauty of this curry so do check. Often it’s the side dishes that throw curries out of keto.
Many Indians will do a mixed kebab starter which, similar to a tandoori, is usually a safe bet. It’ll come with a selection of grilled meats, salad and possibly a dip.
Low Carb/Keto Kebab Takeaway
Personally, this is my favourite option when it comes to craving a takeaway. A big pile of meat and salad that just feels like an escape from having to cook it all myself – which is when I usually tend to crave a takeaway. Like all other takeaway options in this list, it’s the side orders that aren’t keto. If you take away the bread and chips that often come with your standard takeaway then what you’re left with is something that is about as good as you’re going to get in the takeaway world. Traditionally doner meat is high in fat as it’s made with lamb, so a great choice but you might want to check if they use fillers to keep the price down.
What I tend to do is ask them to remove the bread and chips then see if they’ll replace it with either some extra meat and/or salad. They normally do, so for me, it’s a feast that just hits the right spot. I’ve made my own kebabs in the past, including a keto-friendly bread so I’ll get that added the next time I make it.
Low Carb/Keto Burger Takeaway
You might already guess what you have to do here, yep, remove that bun and throw away those chips! We all love a good burger on keto and now and again you just can’t be bothered to make it yourself, if this is the case then most takeaways are happy to keep their buns and chips. Pick the burger of choice and ask for extra toppings and/or salad, similar to the kebab. If I order a burger (not often as I make them at home) then I’ll pick the most keto sounding one, bacon and cheese, then throw on a few extras when it arrives such as jalapenos or avocado.
Avoiding most side orders is a must, as they’ll all be battered and deep-fried, except the coleslaw – you might be safe with that.
The Takeaway Message – hah!
I do need to reiterate that no takeaway is going to be 100% low-carb/keto-friendly unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has a takeaway that is keto such as in London. Your choice should be to make your own home takeaways or fakeaways where you can but I understand the need and place in life that this has. A gathering with friends, a night out, a stressful day where the last thing on your mind is having to cook a meal so if you do find yourself in these situations then these are the better options to go for.
Have I missed something off this list? What is your go-to dish if you really need to order a takeaway in?
At the time of writing this post, the site was still relatively new, so if you’re reading this line of text I will include the perfect fakeaway recipes below but they take time to make, photograph and write up so please do come back.
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