How do you make healthy food choices at an unfamiliar restaurant?

I dont know about you guys, but when i sat down with my D nutritionist, she began by showing me ways of looking at portions and about portion control. She used her hand, spread flat out (piece of chicken breast) she made a fist. (potato) she turned her hand upsidedown, opened it and made a "cup"then we went down a list of food, mostly veggies, and made a section for high-carb veggies, grains, etc.

i was not yet on the pump. things are different today. we look at packages for carb-realted answers. ingrediants....

but what do you do when you are at a restaurant with a bunch of, for arguements sake,your husbands co-workers?

all answers welcome. i truely want to know how others negotiate this type of situation.

i try to pick something that I am familiar with and know how I react to it. Look for simple foods. Like Roasted or baked...and If it has a lot of stuff on it, like cheese,bacon,sauces , etc....I ask them to not include it. I explain why and usually the waiter/waitress has suggestions that help since they know the menu better then I do.

I often choose a salad as a main dish, maybe with fish or grilled meat.

You should have some sort of list whether on paper, online or on your smart phone for when you eat foods that aren't packaged. In time you'll get better at estimating. If you eat at chains, they often have carb counts online. I don't eat at chains, but I google the restaurant ahead of time and I can pick what I will eat from their menu. Then I can look up the carbs at home (I often use That saves a lot of time at the restaurant. I'm a vegetarian so I often end up eating more carbs when I go out, but for a meat eater it's pretty simple: Stick with protein, vegies, salad. Ask questions about how something is prepared to avoid unexpected carbs like breading, sauces, salad dressing with sugar. Avoid the bread basket, or if you do indulge plan your one piece with its carbs ahead of time. Enjoy your company and night out!

Usually eat a chicken or ham salad. I was out last week and I had some gorgeous brown homemade soda bread. I was 20.something later that day, it did taste sweet mind you. I never go wrong with salads. I avoid all soups, gravy, sauces because they just put me through the roof. I find that the fancier the meal the higher I go, so I just stick with what I know now.

>Personally, I think making the right choices at a restaurant is impossible. My husband and I joke that restaurants pour carb powder on everything. I have tried the lettuce salad(hold everything fun on it, please!) and had outrageous glucose numbers in the morning.

I traveled a lot for my job and tuned into restaurants that were available (not my first choices, but available) like Red Lobster (standard there was a shrimp cocktail(9 carbs with the cocktail sauce) and 2 cheddar biscuits (16 carbs each.) Love those biscuits. With a very simple lettuce salad, I was fine. Or Olive Garden, where I found the eggplant parmesan to be a perfect choice (no eating the spagetti served with it!) The endless salad is a no brainer for me, but skip the breadsticks.

MCD is always the same: double cheeseburger (34 carbs) and a dint soda. Breakfast is a burrito. No problems at all with those.

We eat out very rarely, as my control is better when I have control over the food. We just came back from 3 weeks in France. We ate lunch in restaurants 5 times.

I must say, however, that I have a whole lot less problems eating in the restaurants in France. I think their portions are much more reasonable and the food is much purer than ours and less processed with less chemicals, etc. And they don't seem to have access to carb powder. :D

Try to research the menu before you go. I love using the “CalorieKing” app on my phone. It is usually quite accurate as well. If you are at a small chain restaurant and cannot research the menu, then go for an option wih less carbs. I usually choose a big hunk of meat (steak) with vegetables for sides, but I think a salad would qualify too.

For dinner, I usually have a piece of bread, baked or grilled fish and vegetables. If there is a salad, I'll take oil and lemon wedges on the side. I will almost always carry a small digital scale with me and weigh the bread. Sometimes, I'll carry my own apple if I think everyone is going to eat dessert.

For lunch it's salad with oil and lemon wedges on the side

Wow. That is spartan. Do you enjoy eating?

thx zoe. i am also a vegetarian and have a hard time at restaurants. i do, however, still eat fish. but your great idea of looking up the restaurant on-line will go a long way for me

wish i were in France.mmmm

tell me about it. why bother going to a restaurant at all? of course, sometimes we dont have a choice....LOL

Truly. I can eat and it all works. And it is so good!

I don't want to cook? OR right now I am renovating my kitchen and cannot cook.

For "healthy", I don't usually look to restaurants. If I'm going out, I look at a "hunk of carbs" as about 30-45, depending on what it is and how big it is. A salad, maybe 5-10, again with the opportunity for it to be bigger if it's really huge or has carbs/ noodles/ tortilla strips or some other filler. If I have soup, I guess. Then there's drinks, etc. those add up too. It all adds up but I try to guess. Usually I do ok.

often i dont want to go out to dinner simply because i am a very good cook and would rather make my meals at home for myself and my family.

but, then there are times, like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays....

I don't often eat at resaurants... but I work away from home where meals are provided for us about half of the year. I figured out what works for me at work largely by trial and error, and once I figured it out I pretty much eat the same things whenever I can. For breakfast I know that I don't spike too much with two eggs, sausage, and an english muffin with 3 units. For lunch a large salad and a sandwich on wheat bread is covered pretty well by 4 units. For dinner I'll usually have whatever the vegetable they make (unless its a starchy veg) with a salad, about 2/3 cup of mashed potatoes (which I eyeball) and whatever meat they make-- with 3 units.

When I do go out to eat I try to follow about the same patterns... its not perfect but seems to work reasonably well for me

After 38 years on insulin, you think I'd be better at guessing carb totals. But I'm awful at it. I always guess too low. So if I go to a restaurant now, I'll make a guess the first time and bolus accordingly. But if I'm wrong (which I usually am), I'll record the result in my logbook. The next time I go there, I'll order the same thing, but have a much better idea of how much to bolus for. It's still a less-than-perfect approach, but it's the best I can do.

use a calorie king book. have realistic nutrition info for most major restaurants. helps take the guessing out of it.

i do exactly the same thing. i am a "repeat orderer"
my husband and i (and often friends too) go to this wonderful diner at least once a week. i order the same 3 things every time: egg salad sandwich on rye (3.6 units), a grilled cheese sandwich( on rye with swiss and tomato, light on the butter), and, when i really want a super carb treat: their pancakes, (rare, but oooh so yummy) ( i have to take like 5-6 units to cover that, and still i cant get it just right)( and its beeen 7 years already! LOL,
daisy mae