When to bolus in a restaurant?

not only do i not know exactly (impossible) to guestimate the amount of carbs in a dinner out meal, i never know what kind of service i am going to get. my expectations say to pre bolus after the waiter takes my order. but, what if they are too busy, and the food has not yet arrived? what if the food comes out too soon? (well i know that i can wait that out and eat after my pre-bolus)

how do you handle this problem?

I often wait until the food is in front of me and I can see it, confirm the carbs and am sure that I won’t reject it and send it back.


I usually bolus when the plate hits the table. To figure out carbs, think of a fist as a cup full. Sauces I usually get on the side because I have no idea what they put in them. Heavier or fattier meals or a lot of cheese or meat you may want to consider doing a wave bolus. Meaning you split the dose, getting half now and half in 30 minutes. Allowing your digestion and the insulin to catch up with each other. Cheese and meat, digest more slowly.
Good luck- it takes a while to figure it all out- keep in mind it’s safer to be high than low.

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It varies for me based on my BG. Another variable is what I am ordering and if I have been to the restaurant before, so I have an idea of the time lag between ordering and delivery. Finally, like the weather, a visual observation of how busy they are helps tremendously.

I had over an hour wait one time, where I judged the best strategy was to wait until I saw the food on the table. Yes, I ended up needing to do a minor correction later, but that was way better than having to consume a bunch of glucose tabs if I had pre-bolused.


wait until you see the food and it looks correct. Having to send a meal back can put a damper on your spirits if you have bolused, but have to wait 20 minutes for a do-over.

I usually bolus after I order for the minimum amount of carbs I think I might be eating (that is, unless my blood sugar is bordering on low). Then, at the end, I may add more insulin if I underestimated. This gets some insulin working quickly, but helps protect from lows.

thanks very much for your suggestion. it sounds like a very sound method. i think i will try that next time i am in that kind of a situation. restaurants are extremely difficult for me. especially when they bring that damned bread basket to the table before i have even blolused.

It depends on where I go. If I’ve been there before and order something I know I’ll like, I bolus after I order, unless I’m pretty high, in which case I might bolus with a correction after I get my drink but before I get my order taken. If I’m ordering something new (which I rarely do), am at a new restaurant, or see that they are very busy or the waitress/er is very slow, I’ll wait until my food is in front of me.

On the same topic (kind of), there’s a great pizza place near me. I always order the small order of boneless buffalo wings and a side salad, then ask how long it will be. I can always count on them! I know exactly how much insulin to take and exactly when to take it. Obviously, things can happen (car accidents, for example), but I’m at home so it’s okay. It’s just nice feeling normal when someone wants to order food and I can say “Hey! That’s easy for me now!”

I usually go to the same places so I have a good feel for how he kitchen is running. How long it takes to get a table will also tell you about how long food will take to hit the table. I just use the nutritional menu that most every restaurant has and a pre-bolus after the last person orders. I figure I’m in a food establishment so if I start running low, there is something nearby. Glucose tablets are also always with me.

I’ve also had the experience of being the LAST one in a group to be served (with quite a delay) so I wait till the food is served to bolus (and always have sour gummies or glucose tabs handy). I read a comment somewhere in which the poster even tasted the food before bolusing in case s/he didn’t like it, a good idea for an unfamiliar meal.

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i get it completely. i have disliked my orders on several occasions and have had to send them back. i have had raw fish served to me when i had requested medium rare. UGH.
you’re 100% on the mark: glucose tabs are my friend.