Dining out

How do you count carbohydrates for a night out on the town for dinner?

Do you smuggle a carbohydrate book and food scale in the restaurant?
Do you “eyeball” (guesstimate) the amount of food on your plate… and just simply guess?
Do you not go out on the town for dinner?
Do you choose very small portions and keep the meal as simple as possible?
Do you ask the waiter to see a nutrition guide (if available)?
Do you hide in the bathroom with your blood checker until dinner is over?
Do you find yourself going to the same restaurant over and over and ordering the same plate because you are familiar with the nutrition content?

My endocrinologist showed me a quick trick years ago (it is not an exact measurement)… A very small portion of carbohydrates (such as a tiny piece of bread) that you are able to fit into the center of the palm of your hand is USUALLY around 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates. So, when I go out to dinner, I will “eyeball” the portion of food on my plate and break it down into smaller portions that fit into the palm of my hand. Sometimes I will visualize several small slices of bread (12 to 15 carbs each) and convert the total amount of slices of bread into the total units of insulin that is needed to cover my I:C ratio. Um, I hope that makes sense.

The reason I ask this question is, I have been tinkering around with a new method on my pump. My new method requires the exact amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats = my standard/extended bolus amount… I am realizing (actually, the word is more like “shocked”) how much I really do guesstimate if I am not at home with the nutrition package information in front of my face.

Any input (tips or tricks) would be appreciated.

I’m a guesstimator… I like the palm trick though.

My only “trick” is that I usually add 20g of carbs to whatever I guessed because there always seems to be more :slight_smile: I know, very scientific.

I have a HTC Hero from Sprint…

I picked up this app from the Android Market, Calorie Counter and if you are so inclined the paid version is wonderful as well - in comparison, the free version does enough for me, but I do also have this paid version : CalorieSmart Calorie and Carb Counter from Coheso

My phone is always with me, as is my pump :slight_smile:

You are most welcome. I am truly enjoying my new phone. If you have any questions, just let me know. :slight_smile:

How about I offer you an upgrade to my two Campbell’s soup cans and a long piece of dental floss!

I was at Black Angus last night, using the nutritional guide, and feeling that I was doing o.k. Then the waiter came up with a giant cookie and ice cream for my birthday!! Unfortunately, I shared it with my sister and BG was high. I have my carb book and all that but it is too easy for me to overcarb in a restaurant.

Dining out does me in. I always start out under the premise to eat little carbs. There must be some carbs either in the red wine, the salad dressing or just in the air. I haven’t figured it out exactly. By the time I get home I am usually too high. I just came home from dinner and I am 197. Not good. I have petitioned for a pump. Maybe I can dial a bolus going forward. If not, I am might break down and resort to the ‘shot in the restroom’.

I do the 1/2 cup method, anything that looks like a 1/2 cup of food is 15 carbs, but in the end most of my meals are guesstimate.


You always make me smile and shake my head at the same time.


That’s so true, I felt embarrassed to turn down the cookie plus I was drooling when I saw it.

You can fit a lot of ravioli in your palm if you stack them on top of each other:)

I was told the palm of your hand method, something the size of a deck of cards for protein, but don’t use it.

I guesstimate, keep the meal pretty simple (how boring), sauces on the side & wing it. Been lucky so far. Waiters can easily find out the weight of protein for me because restaurants use strict portion control to keep their costs down. Also been lucky that when I asked for something special or veggies to replace something starchy, they’ve done it. I’m a big tipper.


I just came across the GoMeals app and it made me want to go out to eat right then and there bc it is the best food database I have seen to date. Not only does it provide carbs for specific restaurant meals, but also foods in general. I am taking it on our trip to Disney this week and hoping for the best! I also tend to add carbs like Kristen - but it seems I always need to double my estimates. I’ve been known to whip out the food scale too, but guessing seems just as inaccurate in restaurant settings! :wink:

I use Calorie King - have a Blackberry and use the internet to do a search for the item I am looking for (the basic food look up is free and does not require a membership). Has many fast food chains/restuaraunt chains. If I do not have phone service or I am too lazy to look, I usually guess and do a SWAG bolus.

Disney also has all of the carb counts of their foods - especially at the quick service stops - just ask for the supervisor and they have a binder. Be mindful of derving size though -I miscalculated a personal pizza at Planet Pizza in Studios, and I think I bolused for one serving, where as the entire pizza was listed as 2 servings - wound up high after lunch and had to correct. If you are doing table service meals, and are making reservations, make sure you let them know when you make the reservation that you are carb counting and from my understanding, although not exact, they try to help you out with the carb counts on the foods. This link is a good reference for Disney with Diabetes. http://allears.net/pl/diabetes.htm

Honestly, I just guess for the most part. I know what usual servings of most common foods contain so I “guess” around how much of a serving I have on my plate.

Good to know - thanks!