How to Navigate a Business Dinner and Stay Virta-Friendly [Ask Theresa]

Published on 
June 18, 2024
April 2, 2024
Theresa Link, RD, CDE
Theresa Link, RD, CDE
Theresa Link, RD, CDE

Ask Theresa is a weekly advice column by Theresa Link. A Virta Health Coach since 2015 and a loyal follower of the ketogenic lifestyle, Theresa is a Registered Dietitian who is an expert in living a metabolically-healthy life. 

In this week's column, Theresa gives advice on how to crush that business dinner without crushing your ketones.


Dear Theresa,

I started on Virta a month ago. I travel frequently for work and eat most of my meals at sit-down restaurants with clients. Everything is full of carbs. Help!



👩💻 Theresa:

Dear Panicked,

I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news: when you are new to the Virta lifestyle, traveling can create some serious anxiety. You’ve gotten used to preparing your meals in the comfort of your own home, controlling the ingredients by providing your own groceries. Traveling throws a wrench into that routine, so to compensate, you need to try to plan your meals ahead on the road as much as possible. This may feel daunting, but after you do it a few times you’ll be a pro.

With any fancy-ish dinner, you will have some obstacles to overcome. There are four main components: drinks, appetizers, main course, and dessert. We'll tackle each section separately.

Low-Carb Drinks

So you’re looking to wine and dine that client, huh? If you’re having an adult beverage, go with a dry wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot) or a mixed drink (vodka soda with lime, whiskey and diet soda). Here are some other Virta-approved options. Watch out for those pesky sugar-laden mixers that you often find in cocktails. If it tastes sweet, it’s full of sugar, folks. Most importantly, limit it to one. That will help you keep your wits about you and fight the urge to order pizza as your inhibitions slowly plummet.

Keto-Friendly Appetizers

Your client’s not paying, so when the waiter comes around, he’s probably going to go nuts ordering appetizers. Don’t panic. If they order fried goodies for the table, feel free to either beg off (“No thanks, I’m going to wait for my steak”) or supplement your client’s order with options like raw veggies with a creamy ranch dip, deviled eggs, a meat and cheese tray, or bacon wrapped shrimp. Bread is usually brought to the table whether you want it or not, so keep the basket on the opposite end to avoid mindlessly grabbing a slice.

Low-Carb Main Course

This is the easy part! At most sit-down restaurants, you’ll have a plentiful variety of proteins and non-starchy veggies to choose from. Don’t be afraid to substitute, too. 

That ribeye sure looks great, and it usually comes with green vegetables and a potato of some sort. All you need to do is skip the starch and ask for double veggies. A lot of restaurants have a list of sides to choose from, so go for an option like sauteed veggies, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or a side salad with ranch (skip the croutons), to name just a few. 

You can also choose a dinner salad with grilled chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, or tofu. Avoid words like “glazed” unless you want your ketones to tumble. Cobb salads are always a solid choice if you’re unsure. Order with confidence! You’re the boss of your body. And this table.

Skip the Dessert

You’ve done great. You stuck to Virta-approved options through the meal.

Now you’re tired. You want to change into stretchy pants, crank up the AC in your hotel room, crawl under the covers and drift into a deep slumber that resembles a bear going into hibernation. But you can’t just yet – you have one final test. Did anyone save room for dessert? 

Dessert is the easiest meal to skip without feeling pressure. Just beg off. “My meal was so big, I don’t think I could have another bite” Then order something like a decaf Americano. More often than not, others will follow your lead. But if your fellow diners get a second wind and order every dessert on the menu with seven forks, you can still partake in the ritual with your coffee and overwhelming charm.

And now comes the bill. Sweet relief! Everyone starts to yawn and says “welp…” which is your signal that it’s time to collapse into your bed. You did it. And the great news is you can replicate this strategy with each business dinner in the future.

Oh and of course, you landed that client. Because with the help of Virta, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. 

See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any advice relating to your health. View full disclaimer

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