It’s finally summer!
Can I tell you how happy I am to be past winter? I’ve been looking forward to warmer weather, weekends at the lake, and not wearing layers of flannel. Well, okay, maybe not flannel, but you get the picture. Of course, summer leads to summer get-togethers: weekends with friends, holiday celebrations, and bonfires on the beach. That means plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers, bags of potato chips, and tons of sodas in coolers. How do we manage all of that tempting food while we’re doing keto?
My first tip is this: Volunteer to bring food. I will usually tell the host/hostess “I would love to bring my keto quickie potato salad! Do you need me to bring anything else?” In most cases, a host or hostess is thrilled to have folks who contribute to the meal. In that case, I know that my potato salad, made with cauliflower and plenty of full fat, no-sugar mayo, is going to get me closer to my fat macros, and I can make due with whatever else is being served. If she says that she really doesn’t need me to bring anything, I graciously accept that. For some people, putting the party together, including cooking all the food, is a way to show love, and I’m certainly not going to take that away from someone.
But if the host or hostess is going to prepare all the food, chances are there may not be many keto-friendly choices. In that case, I have a go-to game plan to survive those summer get-togethers. Here are the highlights!
First, focus on the meats. Burgers without buns, grilled chicken or steak, and brats are all good choices. Try to stay away from hot dogs; they may have fillers that aren’t keto-friendly. The same goes for heavily marinated meats like fajitas. Try to avoid any meat cooked in or served in a sauce.
Next, take a peak at the cheeses. If there are natural cheese selections, grab a slice or two of cheese. If you’re having a burger, then request that the griller melt your chosen cheese on top of the burger! Then top as you would normally, but without the bun.
What kinds of dips are available? Guacamole is a great burger or steak topper and makes it easy to hit your fat macros. A nice ranch dip makes a good accompaniment for chicken.
If you’re planning to practice keto at the get-together, you’re probably going to want to avoid the potato and macaroni salad altogether, unless you know that a keto version was made. If you’re going to spend some carbs or even have a full-on cheat day, do NOT go big on fats! Carbs + fat = weight gain.
At most summer gatherings, you’ll find several bags of chips. This is another place you can pitch in if your host is open to the idea. Bring those pork rinds! For a fancier party, I would even bring a variety. Regular pork rinds, spicy, gourmet, etc. It sends a message to those attending that they are for everyone and lets people try some new things.
Drinks are tough at summer get-togethers. If there’s no alcohol at the party, your choices are likely to be soda or punches that are loaded with sugar. If I’m going to any kind of summer activity, I always bring a cooler filled with ice and water. If the hostess has already provided water, then my water bottles can go right back into the house for next time.
If the party is boozy, you have a few choices. Beers are generally a no-no, but one light beer isn’t going to kill you. Dry wines like Pinot Noir or Chablis are usually okay, too. A better choice is to go straight for the hard liquor. Drinking your vodka, tequila, or bourbon straight or with water is your best bet for avoiding sugars or artificial sweeteners.
However, mixers such as diet soda or Crystal Light are acceptable as well. A Moscow mule made with diet ginger ale is a pretty great cocktail. My favorite drink is one shot of vodka in a tall glass of sparkling mineral water + ice + a squeeze of lemon or lime + a few drops of stevia sweetened flavor (raspberry/lemon is my fave). I keep these drops in my purse at all times.
Just remember that drinking alcohol while keto-ing can have unexpected consequences. First, you’re likely to get drunker, quicker. Second, you will be out of ketosis while your body processes the alcohol. Third, as your inhibitions lower, you may begin to make non-keto food choices. A few cocktails throughout an afternoon probably isn’t going to hurt, but several cocktails before you eat may change the course of your evening!
Eventually, it’s going to be time for dessert. This is where I usually consume my carbs. If I want to be safe, I’ll make a mixed berry salad with unsweetened heavy whipping cream. A small serving is going to be sweet enough to get the job done without completely ruining my diet plans. But that apple pie with ice cream is going to be tempting! Usually, if I’m going to an event that I know will have decadent desserts, I will maintain strict keto during the main course so that I can indulge in a tiny piece of pie or a small scoop of ice cream.
If you do decide to stay strictly keto, it’s going to be hard to get all of your fats in when you’re eating a meal prepared at someone else’s home. In this case, I will make sure that I either have a fatty coffee with MCT oil (US | CAN) in the morning before we leave, or I take some MCT capsules in the mid-afternoon.
The most important thing to remember about summer get-togethers is that you’re supposed to be having fun. So if you do give into temptation and enjoy a cupcake or some peach cobbler, don’t beat yourself up. Realize that you’re still experiencing sugar cravings (which is completely normal) and do a few more laps in the pool, then move forward the next day. If you dwell on falling off the wagon, you will come to resent eating keto. When you resent eating keto, every day becomes a struggle. That one piece of cobbler does not define who you are.
Interested in more recipes for fun summer keto-friendly foods? Stop by my Facebook group and find some great new ideas!
You got this!
Leta ~ Intentionally Bare
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. The content in here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard here.