Keeping it Keto at Olive Garden
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Keeping it Keto at Olive Garden

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Keeping it Keto at Olive Garden

Posted 3 years ago

Carb Manager Staff

Carb Manager Staff

Whether you are attending a family dinner or enjoying brunch with your friends, dining out while on a Keto diet can be stressful. 

Planning a night out can become a mammoth task when the menus at fast-food restaurants are full of bread sticks, tortillas, and starchy pasta dishes. 

The popular Italian restaurant chain, Olive Garden, is no different. But if you’re expecting that dining at this fast-casual-style restaurant would be impossible while staying on a low-carb diet, you might be wrong. With a little bit of forward planning, eating Keto at Olive garden is achievable.

Here are some tips on how to order your Keto-friendly meal without worrying about the social pressure and health goals:

Before placing your order, thoroughly research the options available on the menu. Having a low-carb diet does not have to equate to having a low number of choices.

The best place to start is to review the nutritional guide Olive Garden offers. This provides detailed nutritional information on all menu items, and will give you a general guideline of what you can order.

Base your meal around protein

Olive garden offers great options for protein-rich foods like salmon, chicken, shrimp, or steak. 

Some suitable options would be:

  • Herb Grilled Salmon 
  • Grilled Chicken Margherita
  • Grilled meat/steak

Siding with Veggies

Low-carb veggies are a great option for sides and you can always ask for double veggies instead of pasta. A bed of leafy greens like lettuce with grilled meat will always be a safe bet. 

Here are some dishes to add to your low-carb options list:

  • Chicken scampi with no sauce and double vegetables, instead of pasta
  • Chicken alfredo with no noodles, served over broccoli
  • A house side salad with no dressing
  • Italian sausage, served with broccoli or salad

Be Mindful of Sauces

It’s easy to underestimate the carbs in a sauce. It’s a common mistake many people make while eating out.

Your best bet is to opt for the creamy pesto or mushroom sauce, because the dairy will help increase your fat intake. If a cream-based sauce is not for you, a basic marinara is a really good low-carb option too.

Keeping it Clean Keto

Choosing a low-carb meal doesn’t automatically mean that you have selected a healthy meal. Foods cooked in vegetable oils like soybean oil may increase blood cholesterol levels, potentially boosting the risk of heart disease and stroke.[*]

Whenever possible, stick to whole foods and healthy fats like meat, fish, avocados, olive oil, and low-carb veggies. Opt for a low-carb dressing, such as ranch, Caesar, or a simple mix of olive oil and vinegar. 

What to Avoid at Olive Garden

A dish in Olive Garden without bread or pasta is hard to find. Starchy sides like bread sticks and spaghetti are a common sight. Knowing what to avoid while ordering your meal is important too. 

Follow these top tips to help you stay on track with your macros:

  • Know your order - Knowing your order should be the priority. Know what you want to eat and stick to the plan.
  • Avoid soups - Most soups at Olive Garden contain pasta or starchy carbs which should be avoided on Keto.
  • Say no to sweetened beverages - Be cautious with alcohol choices and avoid soda and sweetened teas.

In Summary

In addition to following our top tips, you can also customize your order at Olive Garden. Knowing exactly how to build your meal will help you enjoy a delicious dinner without the challenges or stresses of dining out on Keto. 

And If you are looking to recreate your dining experience at home, why not try our Keto-friendly versions of popular menu items like Keto Zuppa Toscano and Low Carb Chicken Alfredo Zoodles. These low-carb alternatives are a great way to enjoy your favorite restaurant inspired meals from the comfort of your own home, while still being able to manage your macros.

Comments 10

  • OutstandingKale806445

    OutstandingKale806445 9 months ago

    OG is actually pretty easy. Get the herb grilled salmon or steak, broccoli, and house salad with no croutons and ranch on the side. Their parmesan ranch is 1 net carb for 2 Tbsp.

    • PositivelyKeto2023

      PositivelyKeto2023 a year ago

      Thank you so much! My boys (hubby included) like to eat at OG so this will help a lot - love broccoli anyway so great idea!

      • Faith

        Faith 4 months ago

        Ordered lunch shrimp scampi, subbed out pasta for broccoli. Did not feel deprived at all. Have done Alfredo over broccoli, both wonderful! Took my keto bread, 1 carb per slice to not be tempted with breadsticks because we ordered Alfredo dipping sauce 😋!

    • HappyStrawberry1977

      HappyStrawberry1977 a year ago

      What are the carbs in their size portion of chicken Alfredo over broccoli?

      • SuperKale521019

        SuperKale521019 a year ago

        This is what I hate! I'm reading your comments from 10 weeks ago and not one person has responded! Otherwise, I love CM.

    • Shnell25

      Shnell25 2 years ago

      Thank you for this article. I have been turning down invitations to eat at OG because of their high carb dishes.

      • JIMBOB421

        JIMBOB421 10 months ago

        We get different gift cards from OG yearly from friends and company. Being new to this counting carbs I knew that OG may be a challenge. I'm really going to have to look at the menu closely and No breadsticks. I can eat just the salad and be just fine. How is the house dressing at OG.

      • SunRN

        SunRN 2 years ago

        OG is the worst. Absolutely a no-go. Unfortunately my 9 yr old LOVES it!!! But I had a bit of his spaghetti sauce the last time we were in there...loaded with sugar!

    • BlithesomeKale452576

      BlithesomeKale452576 2 years ago

      Great advices, thanks. 👍🏼

      • IncredibleKale703791

        IncredibleKale703791 2 years ago

        I get the chicken Alfredo, sub broccoli for noodles. So good!