Keto summer BBQ tips and tricks

keto at summer BBQ

How to stay keto at a summer BBQ

With summer BBQ season finally upon us and many states easing their COVID-19 restrictions, many of us will be attending a summer barbecue (or probably more).

So how to stay on your keto diet when you show up at the neighborhood backyard barbecue or summer picnic?

A lot of success on the ketogenic diet is just preplanning and knowing ahead of time what you can and can’t eat. Knowing what foods are “keto-approved” and what foods have hidden sugars that you should avoid if you want to be successful on the ketogenic diet

So let’s break it down.

The backyard barbecue has a lot of ketogenic options but there’s also a few sneaky hidden carb options. if you can avoid stepping in those carb-loaded holes, you’ll be able to enjoy the backyard barbecue and still be in ketosis the next day.

Keto BBQ Tip #1 – Avoid the bread

The first tip with staying keto at a summer BBQ is to avoid buns and bread. This tip is a no brainer and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that has been doing keto for any length of time. Hamburger buns, hotdog rolls and bread obviously have a lot of carbohydrates and even one hamburger bun or hotdog roll can pack enough carbohydrates to knock you out of ketosis pretty quickly.

The quick and easy substitute is just use a lettuce wrap or just take it the burger “naked“ without a bun and just on the plate. If you do this option, use utensils otherwise people might give you funny looks as you shove that tasty burger into your mouth with your hands (its happened).

Keto BBQ Tip #2 – BBQ meat – Keto or not?

Another secret source of hidden carbohydrates in BBQ condiments is barbecue sauce. 

And as much as I love a good slow-cooked pork ribs or pork shoulder, go for the BBQ where the cook has gone for a dry rub with spices instead of marinating in a barbecue sauce. A lot of “secret ingredients” barbecue sauce have added sugar in either molasses, or brown sugar added.

Most BBQ main dishes like burgers are keto-friendly

Burgers, hot dogs and a wide variety of sausages seen on the grills of many BBQs are also usually keto-appropriate.

Seafood is another keto BBQ option and I’ll usually make and bring a bunch of shrimp or salmon kebabs to any BBQ just to make sure I have a good keto option for myself.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading up to Maine or down to Louisiana for either a lobster, clam or crawdad bake, the great news is that all that seafood is keto! Just watch the sides like the cornbread and grilled corn-on-the-cob, which are not keto-friendly BBQ foods.

Keto BBQ Tip #3 – The keto side dish dilemma

Side dishes that are keto safe at a barbecue

Keto-safe side dishes at a BBQ becomes a little more tricky. The pasta salads and macaroni salad’s are all going to be too high in carbohydrates if you want to stay on your ketogenic diet. However you can still do a small one or two spoonfuls on the side if you’ve been good as far as the rest of your carbohydrate intake for the rest of the day and staying under 30 g a day if you’re just starting out and 50 g a day if you’re in maintenance keto.

Keto BBQ Tip #4 – Know your condiments

Condiments are a common trap for trying to stay in ketosis since some condiments are packed with a lot of hidden sugars. Catsup is the biggest offender of having these hidden sugars, unless it’s a true “keto” catsup with no or limited added sugar. 

Try going with different condiments like mustard or mayonnaise. Ranch dressing is also ok on keto. Check to make sure the dressing doesn’t have much added sugar, and if not, top your keto burger in ranch dressing.

Pickles are also OK on keto and have almost no carbs, so you can load your burger up with them.Be wary of pickle relish since sometimes sweet pickle relish can have some added sugars. The good news is that a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish usually only has 5 grams of carbohydrates, so add the relish in moderation.

Don’t forget to add lettuce and a small amount of tomatoes and onions.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the company of others!

If you don’t feel like cooking on the barbecue, check out the low-carb and keto options at In-n-Out Burger

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