Many people are low-carb these days and food allergies are commonplace, in my experience this means that most places are quite accommodating if you explain that you don’t eat certain foods. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask! Hotels, restaurants, and takeaways are part of our service industries and are there to serve you. They should be able to meet your needs - or provide you with information on where you can eat if they can't accommodate you themselves. If they can't meet your needs or be helpful, then vote with your wallet and feet and go elsewhere.
Hotels and B&Bs
Restaurants and Pubs
Eating on the road
If you have any other suggestions on how to eat out while avoiding carbs, I'd love to hear them in the comments!
Hotels and B&Bs
- Caesar Salad without croutons
- Prawn Cocktail without bread
- Anything that isn't breaded - so no breaded mushrooms, but if they do garlic mushrooms without the breading then those are fine
- Avoid nachos and garlic bread
- Steak is usually one of the best options, but remember to ask for it to be served without chips and onion rings, preferably request salad instead of cooked veg
- Chargrilled fish and Chargrilled chicken are good options - again ask for it to be served with a salad, or at least without potatoes
- Salads are usually a really good bet, but if they state on the menu that it comes with croutons or bread and butter ask for those to be left off the order
- Grilled chicken and gammon are also great options - the same rules apply about the side dishes, opt for a salad if you can, definitely ask for them not to be served with chips and onion rings
- All Day Breakfasts are another good option, but again no chips or baked beans
- Avoid things like curry & chili as they are only served with rice or chips
- Avoid pies and anything served in batter or breadcrumbs
- Avoid burgers - not just for the obvious reason of them being served in a bun and with chips, unless you are 100% sure that the burger is made with 100% meat you will find that it contains rusk and other fillers
Personally I would advise against eating Chinese, having helped out at a Chinese takeaway I can tell you that every single dish is loaded with MSG, salt and sugar. If you do have a Chinese then again avoid anything that is served in pastry or batter, avoid prawn crackers, avoid noodles (so no Chow Mein dishes) and avoid rice, and sadly I have to say avoid the Sesame Prawn Toast as tasty as it may be. On the very rare occasions that I eat Chinese I have the meat dishes only. I may have a single meat dish, like Chicken with Cashew, or I may share a number of meats with friends.
Eating on the road
Unless you can stop at one of the fast-food places that offers salads, eating on the road is the single biggest challenge facing a low-carb, Paleo, or gluten-free eater. Corner shops and petrol stations are pure hell. There is, quite literally, nothing that we can eat from there unless they sell blocks of cheese and slices of ham - or if you get very lucky they might have a salad that's not got pasta in it. Virtually everything you see on sale in these places that is ready to eat, or heat on premises, is crisps, chocolate, sandwiches, wraps, sweets, burgers, fizzy drinks. It's a minefield and a nightmare. I've now learnt to take a packed lunch with me when I know I'm going to be on the road. A small salad, some pistachio nuts and some mixed nuts will usually do for me.
Under this category I'd place sandwich shops, many of these offer salad trays or boxes and this is where you can get a really nice, and filling, meal. You should be able to pick which meat or fish you want and which salad items you want. I would recommend avoiding sweetcorn, partly because it's off limits for the Paleo diet anyway but also because it's a high-carb veg with quite a lot of sugar in it. If you happen to be near a Pret a Manger store, pop in and see what they have to offer in their No Bread range - they use lettuce to create a wrap, an idea I've taken on board when I fancy something different to a plate full of salad!