Eating out

So what foods to people eat at restaurants that don’t spike them? I am not eating low-carb, exactly, but I am trying to be smarter about what I do eat, especially in restaurants as I’m often bolusing for a guessed amount of carbs and it’s easy to eat 150+ grams of carbs if you’re not careful!

I do low carb and don’t have any trouble finding things to eat. Mexican - I have an order of fajitas without beans, rice, or tortillas. Often they put some lettuce on the side. Breakfast is my favorite - eggs and bacon, or an omelette, no potatoes, no bread. If I’m really hungry I order extra bacon. Mimi’s has a plate with just broiled salmon, salad, and vegetables. It’s wonderful. I just stay away from pasta, rice, and bread, but never have trouble finding something yummy to eat.

I stay with protein & veggies in restaurants. I ask for sauces on the side because they may contain flour, corn starch & sugar. I don’t hesitate to ask what ingredients are in a dish. If it comes with pasta, rice, potatoes, I request another vegetable as a substitute. Where I get into trouble is eating too much protein because restaurant portions are larger than what I eat at home.

I usually have a big salad with beans & if I’m not familiar with the ingredients in the dressing I’ll just ask for some lemon & oil & make my own at the table. A meal like that ensures lots of fiber to prevent spikes. I like Mexican food & I’ll sometimes have vegetarian fajitas. I have 5 restaurants I frequent & I’ve tested after eating there & I know what to expect (with and without exercise). Except for a bite or two, I avoid the usual stuff like rice, potatoes, bread. If I’m planning exercise after the meal, I can get away with a couple of bites of dessert & still be around 130-150. Since I don’t use meds or insulin, I have to be more careful.

Yeah, dining out isn’t as much fun as it used to be…

Yeah, I usually have protein with salad, and if I go Japanese I’ll have sashimi salmon steak, without the rice. They do a nice salad in Japanese restaurants, you can ask if it is not with your desired dish.


In light of your other threads about flatlining and A1Cs, can I respectfully suggest that

a)guessing the amount of carbs is not a good idea
b)neither is thinking of, or putting yourself into a position where you’d ever be consuming 150g of carb in one sitting?

As both of these would likely lead to outcomes that preclude flatlining.

Don’t worry, I didn’t eat 150g of carbs, nor did guess at carbs! All I meant by that is that I’ve looked at the nutritional information for some of the restaurants I go to where a single dish is 150g of carbs. Crazy!

Yesterday I attended an AGM and then watched the hockey game downtown with friends. I ate chicken fingers and a side salad for lunch, and a chicken caesar for dinner (didn’t eat the garlic bread that came with it, either). I looked up the carbohydrate information for both, but still spiked to 14.8 (266 mg/dl) after lunch even with that information! Dinner was fine, I didn’t spike although I did pile on more insulin than I needed because I didn’t trust the nutritional information anymore, and ended up going low later when we walked around downtown.

So I was just curious about what people eat, given that even with the nutritional information available I still went high (albeit briefly). Unfortunately, avoiding eating out completely is virtually impossible unless I never want to socialize. LOL.

I often stick to meat, poultry, fish and veggies…Grilled or steamed. When it has sauces or marination, and if Im not too familiar with the dish, I usually ask for its major ingredients.

I’ve also learned (after getting spikes) to avoid those “complicated” exotic dishes where a bunch of different foods are mixed together along with sauces. That’s were sugar & other tasty stuff is added without making it taste sweet. I experienced that after eating at a Moroccan and an Indian restaurant.

Sometimes I’ve watched chefs make something on TV & am amazed at how much sugar, flour & butter are used.

One surprising thing I have noticed is that lasagna (we know how to estimate it correctly, having weighed a slice on the Salter as large as my hand squared) at 48 grams, does not spike her, yet regular pasta will. Perhaps it is because lasagna has meat and cheese. Not sure why this is. Neither does Carvel ice cream or ice cream cake; Cold Creamery is a nightmare, though. Chinese, better to eat at home and make your own Uncle Bens converted rice instead of sticky rice which is very high carb. Safest choice are meats, salads with just a little bread, potatoes or rice. French fries, no problem, 1 gram per fry if thin, 2 if thicker. Restaurant food is probably not healthy food.

Apricot chicken at Olive Garden works pretty well, as long as you stay away from the bread sticks!

In my short time on insulin, I’ve found two important factors which give me problems. Exercise and eating out. They both lead to highly variable outcomes. This weekend, I did both at once and although I’m fine, it was a "lesson."

The whole eating out thing still really gets me. I am not even sure that weighing servings has anything to do with it. I think I eat “more” when eating out. I mean more of everything, not just carbs and that is part of the issue. I can tell myself that the extra salad and the side dishes of greens and all that are basically “free,” but they aren’t free. I think I sometimes get the Chinese restaurant effect. And if I believe I am being “smart” I will overbolus. And if I’ve gone low before the waiter returns to ask about dessert, then I will have really dug myself into a deep hole.

I also think that foods with lots of ingredients are “danger.” It is all too easy for the restaurant to add starches or sugars. A strong flavored sauce can often acquire large amounts of sugar and I won’t even really taste it. So why can I go to a restaurant and have a piece of cheesecake and have a more consistent outcome than just ordering the pollo diablo with veggies? I don’t have any answers for you. I used to eat out with my family 3-4 nights a week. But no longer. We eat out like once a week. And even then I struggle with making hard choices that can easily take all the joy out of what should be a fun activity.

We have a compromise answer to the problem of eating out–we use take-out. With take-out, you can choose exactly what you want from the menu at a carefully selected restaurant, and bolus at home in the usual way. This won’t work with friends probably, but it works for family. No doggy bag–either give the leftover straightaway to the dogs or put it in the fridge. Go watch a good DVD while monitoring as often as necessary.

What gets me is that I looked up the carbohydrate information on the restaurant’s website before going, and still went high. I swear they hide stuff in there!

I find eating out and exercise the most difficult to get right, too.

I read somewhere that food is allowed to vary up to 20% of what they put on those nutrition facts. I have absolutely no idea if this is true or where I read it!

Ever weigh packaged food? Portions are often 10-20% off. You’ll have the same problem at a restaurant plus most restaurants don’t have precise portion control. The better the restaurant, the more likely the food is plated by eye.


I have to admit I don’t like to eat out, but my husband does and we tend to travel alot so I don’t have a choice. I have learned that you can order off the menu in most restaurants. My go to meal would be a grilled steak or chicken breast with vegetables and salad. If there are fries, pasta or potato that come with it I usually ask them to swap for a salad or 2nd veggie. I always ask what is in the salad dressings. Next time I travel I think I will buy some of those individual Walden Farm salad dressing packets and bring them with me. I’ve been caught several times eating a salad I thought was low carb and having it spike me. Even Mexican restaurants often have some kind of grilled meat and veggies. Tell them to hold the beans, rice and tortillas. Since I keep my bgs fairly tight and don’t like to spike much above 110-115, it is important for me to avoid hidden carbs. Don’t be afraid to ask the server if there is flour or sugar in a veggie or meat item. It is amazing where they add extra carbs.

All nutritional labeling is inaccurate & no one is verifying what restaurants list as theirs. One reason I stay with restaurant food that has no secret ingredients lurking. Chain restaurants, which I avoid, get a ton of stuff prepared.

Eating out often seams to be hit or miss. The things that help me out are to look up the carb count before I order the meal (and hope its accurate for what I am served). I almost always dual wave bolus for eating out to compensate for the increased amount of fat (a good starting place for my dual wave is 70% upfront and 30% squared. I extend the square wave one hour for every 1.5 units). The other tip I have is to pick sides with non starchy vegetables (to lower total carb intake for the meal).

Theoretically no food should cause a spike if it is offset with the proper amount of insulin. Guessing how much to inject and when is quite a challenge. A challenge that I enjoy. I remember eating a Bloomin’ Onion almost all by myself and keeping my BG flat. What a sweet victory. Eating out is always a gamble. I struggle the most with steak dinners. I eat at 6 pm and my BG starts going up anywhere between midnight and 4 am. I always hesitate to inject too much because I go back to sleep and I am not sensitive to lows while asleep. Judging by the trouble that I go through for steak dinners I infer that steaks must be good. Why else would I allow my dex to wake me up every hour? Maybe I need to grow up. I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.