Restaurant food and Diabetes

By tommy123400 Latest Reply 2012-10-06 15:28:36 -0500
Started 2011-07-22 23:34:14 -0500

I was asked a question the other day about what and how to order in a restaurant. Being a retired Chef I thought about this for a while and came to some conclusions. Ask your server what types of cooking is being done in the establishment and look for high protein entrees'.Sweet Potatos over white.
Poached seafood instead of broiling, fried, sauteed. Remember, it is their job to sell, sell, sell! Be aware of how clean the restaurant is as this will show how well the kitchen is(most of the time) Order grain breads or wheat breads and rolls. AND stay away from those delicious garlic knot rolls. lol
Anyone wantto add to this??

45 replies

Jellocat 2012-04-11 16:19:13 -0500 Report

If I'm planning on going out to eat, I sometimes make a small green smoothie - no sugar or sugar substitute (the fruit takes care of the sweetness). Usually, just with some kale or spinach and then whatever fruit (there are tons of recipes for green smoothies on the web). I drink this and am a bit full - enough to not be too tempted to order to much or stuff I shouldn't be ordering and, since I'm already a bit full, will not eat a lot of it and will have plenty to take home. If you're worried about the sugar in the fruit then use a low-glycemic fruit. I do use bananas, but may cut up a banana into two and just use half to make the smoothie.

Misspearl01 2012-01-19 17:06:59 -0600 Report

I have found out to always order dressing on the side. For restaurants put way to much. I hate to go to restaurants that put bread out on the table. Sometimes I wish I had handcuffs because the temptations are unbearable.

MsKelly50 2011-10-16 17:55:36 -0500 Report

At this point in my life I'm lucky to got out to eat at all. But I will say that when I do it's hard to resist the old favorites! I've gotten better though and stay more focused on the fruits and salads that are offered.

Type1Lou 2011-09-14 12:41:38 -0500 Report

Many restaurants today are becoming more health-conscious and some chains even have data on the nutritional components available for their menu items. (e.g. McDonald's and Applebees)(Unfortunately, I did not ask at Applebee's when I ordered their grilled shrimp and spinach salad which I estimated at 30 or so carbs. After getting home, I checked their website and found out the salad with dressing had a whopping 63 grams of carb (40 of it in the dressing!). I should have asked the waitress if nutritional info was available before ordering. Many smaller, independent restaurants may not be able to provide you with the nutritional info and this is where we have to break down the components ourselves and estimate the carb value as best we can. I tend to avoid all starches and ask for veggie substitutions, which are usually no problem.

Auburn Bill
Auburn Bill 2011-09-14 10:10:32 -0500 Report

We have a wonderful Italian Pizza place we go to in Seneca Falls, Avacollis! I know its wrong but I do enjoy a Garlic knot before the meal. Sorry,I swear" the devil makes me do it!" I do use reason whik,e at home, my wife watches me! Glad we have a chef aboard, how about a good Italian recipe for chicken riggies? Would you like to be my friend? Granfpa Bill

mysteria7130 2011-10-16 15:15:40 -0500 Report

"The devil made me do it" that is my line. but I would like to be a friend to bothe you and your wife. She loves you very much or would not care about what you eat. Now quit stealing my lines. Ha Ha HA

Type1Lou 2011-09-14 12:43:00 -0500 Report

What are chicken riggies?

Auburn Bill
Auburn Bill 2011-09-14 15:25:32 -0500 Report

It's an Italian dish of cubed chicken, pasta, spaggetti sauce, hot or mild yellow cutup peppers, onions, which are simmered for hours in the slow cooker. I forgot te heavy cream to be added te last minute! OH OH OH So Good! This is a famous Central New York dish I love to make,, creamy, dreamy, good grief so darn good! Not Itailian by parents, Grandpa Bill

Type1Lou 2011-09-15 15:58:27 -0500 Report

Thanks for educating me…and thanks too for the flowers. My hubby loves Italian food and he would no doubt love the Chicken Riggies but only if I made it without peppers…he doesn't like peppers. I would pick out the pasta if I ate it as the pasta contributes too many carbs for me.

jayabee52 2011-09-14 12:51:28 -0500 Report

Just a guess: "riggis" = Rigatoni?

Type1Lou 2011-09-15 16:00:34 -0500 Report

James, you called it…it sounds like this dish got it's name from the pasta used which may first have been rigatoni…but sounds like you could make it with any kind of pasta…now, if I substituted french style green beans for the pasta, it would be lots lower carb…maybe I'll give that a try…hmmmm.

MEGriff1950 2011-09-14 10:17:46 -0500 Report

Shame on you Bill, I would never do anything wrong like that. Last week end we celebrated my grandsons 11th birthday. I made him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Did I eat 1 peice? No I did not eat 1 piece I ate 2. I counted the carbs as part of my meals.

lacat87 2012-10-06 15:22:59 -0500 Report

sounds like what i would do!! in fact yesterday i had ice cream and cake for lunch! just felt like being naughty!! since i'm type1 i added up the carbs and figured out the insulin needed. it was sooo good…but would never do it again…welll not too soon!!

Judijudi 2011-09-14 06:37:32 -0500 Report

Most restauraunts will substitute a green vege (usually steamed/grilled broccoli or green beans) for the starch. I find that very helpful when eating out. If the restaurant won't substitute without charge I make a point of letting them know that I will not be a repeat customer!

Paul Weller
Paul Weller 2011-09-12 13:18:36 -0500 Report

I love to eat out. I take my own bread, salad dressings, and condiments, etc. Because I'm Type 1, we also take a scale and measuring spoons to measure amounts of items I eat. This can be done discretely, and only the people at the table even notice. We use the 2011 Edition of the Calorie King "Calorie, Fat, and Carbohydrate Counter Book" which contains nearly every type of food by amount for counting as well as info about meals from many popular restaurants. I tend to go to the restaurants where the food can be cooked without sauces, etc.

Generally, I order plain seafood, steak, or chicken, measure the allowed amount of potato, veggie, salad I eat so that my carb intake fits within my meal allowance. I have an insulin pump, so I can adjust my insulin if my carbs exceed my allowance. If I want more potato, then I eat broccoli or green beans instead of a starchy veggie.

cdrvr 2011-09-14 05:19:03 -0500 Report

my name is Greg And I have 3 kids living at home,My kids like to go out and eat like to grab a burger and fries or get a pizza or whatever. How do I keeep my blood sugar in control when I am out with them? Please help me

jayabee52 2011-09-14 09:57:09 -0500 Report

How do you normally manage your BG levels, Greg?

You don't have to eat everything your kids eat, you can avoid the fries, and the sodas or the shakes. Whenever I eat out I just avoid all breads, potatoes and pastas and drink ice water only. When out for pizza focus on the salad rather than the pizza but be careful that the additions to the salad don't negate the healthful aspects of the salad greens. I opt for vinagerette dressings rather than creamy dressings, avoid croutons, and any carb-laden fruits with it.

There are other ways but these can get you started.

Pastor Bruce
Pastor Bruce 2012-06-11 09:09:41 -0500 Report

I know that this may sound a little gross. I ate at an all you can eat pizza restaurant and I made a big salad and put a little spaghetti sauce over it. That satisfied me. In fact I had another.

jayabee52 2012-06-11 19:35:17 -0500 Report

unfortunately Pastor Bruce, Spag sauce will spike me. I usually eat it with basalmic vinegar which tends to lower BGs. I also noted that tomato sauce will cause my bleeding ulcer to open. So tomatoes are out for me.

cher ranae
cher ranae 2011-09-12 12:37:46 -0500 Report

Hello I am new to your chat and new to diabetis, going out to dinner has just stopped for me altogether. This is so hard because me and my husbanad have ate out for years all over the world. We enjoy traveling and good good food. Now we eat crap at home. I try to feed us but we never enjoy it and we are always hungry. Funny we are not losing any weight either!!!!

Alabamahunny 2011-10-16 02:33:47 -0500 Report

Cher I am also new too.Guess I need to go to diabetic clinic.I just found out in July and think I have been in denial a little.Helped my dad when he was a diabetic but I have forgotten almost everything.I need to learn how to do it all. A little depressing at first.We too travel all over from England, Canada,the U.S. and the different foods are so good. I'm not doing something right either. I'm full when I eat but sure get hungry soon.I have lost 13 lbs but I think thats because I'm not eating enough because I don't want my sugar to go up. Guess I just have a lot to learn and need to learn it now.Thank you for letting me sound off.Good luck in your health and hope we both can do what we do to do. Sharon

lacat87 2012-10-06 15:28:36 -0500 Report

hi cher and alabamahunny to DC!! you could try getting the Calorie King book from that website. It gives fats, carolies, and carb counts for thousands of foods, even fast foods. I live by this book. Even when I check the carb count on frozen products, I will check what the Calorie King book says about the same food. It lists frozen, fresh, fast food, alcohol, and many other kinds of foods. Hope this helps you! Good health and hugs to you both.

cmsvhj 2011-07-23 18:54:06 -0500 Report

The problem I have when I order at a restaurant or even fast food place is I ask for unsweet tea! I often get sweet tea. In the south they all drink sweet tea and when you order by just saying tea that is what you get. So I specifically ask all the time for unsweet tea. I have even specified that I have diabeties and can't have sweet tea. I have more times than not received sweet tea. I even tell the server, when they have made a mistake, that they could possibly kill someone with giving them the wrong thing. I really don't think they care.

tommy123400 2011-07-24 09:00:52 -0500 Report

Remember what I said about the general attitude of some servers. It is their job to sell, sell, sell and and at some times they may not understand what you tell them. I would ask for a manager if this kept happening to me. There is no shame in being diabetic and you should NOT have to feel any less than the next person. I am from the south and what you said about all of us drinking sweet tea is NOT correct. As far as letting a server know when they have made a mistake is great, but remember they are only making $2.13 per hour and tips, so sometimes they just don't care. Let management know your concerns and if it is any kind of decent restaurant, management should make sure these kinds of things not happen. At least in a perfect world it would be so. But, alas, it isn't, so we as diabetics must stay ahead of the situations. God bless.. tommy

MEGriff1950 2011-09-12 11:27:35 -0500 Report

I find this post very interesting even though it is old. I went to Denny's made some healthy choices and told the waitress exactly what I wanted including that I am diabetic and on a highly restricted diet. I go to this Denny's often they accomadate (bad spelling). I did not get what I had asked for. I ate what I should have. As I was paying I told her I did not leave a tip because you did not listen to my special request when I ordered even though I stated that I am a diabetic. Here in WA state wait staff are paid minimum wage it is over $8.00 per hour. Normally I tip well. Had the owner/manager been there I would have complained to him. He does not like unhappy customers. Had it been one of my cranky days I would have sent the food back until they got my order correct. Though not a chef I cooked for over 11 years in restaurants.

OhSoBlessed 2011-07-23 10:43:20 -0500 Report

Thanks for the tips, a big help!

Question: Are there any veggies and other things usually found at salad bars that are best avoided? Are raisens ok? Which dressings are best (on the side of course).

Type1Lou 2011-09-14 12:32:56 -0500 Report

IMHO, raisins should only be used to treat a low-blood sugar since they are very concentrated in sugar. I avoid them.

tommy123400 2011-07-23 15:54:15 -0500 Report

I did a bit of research on rasins. They are very high in sugars, and calories. Although they have 5g of protein, they have 131g of carbohydrate. So in my opinion,and it is only mine, I would stay away from rasins. I tend to lean more towards the roasted vegetables and raw. I love fresh greens, though I watch my vitamin K in greens as collard, mustard, and kale. As for a salad dressing, I tend to carry a small self-serv portion. These may be found in your local grocer. Hope this helps.. God bless tommy PS. This is based on a 1/2 cup serving.

Doryian 2011-09-12 10:53:36 -0500 Report

Tommy123400 - My family went to eat at a Mexican restaurant last night. I really wanted fajitas, so I packed up my low-carb tortillas and brought them along. My family was nearly mortified that I brought my own tortillas instead of just eating the fajitas with a fork from the plate. I got self-conscious about it, so was "sneaking" them out of my backpack one at a time during the meal. Is this so weird? If the restaurant owner/waitress spotted me with my own tortillas would they have been offended? I ask because if you bring your own dressing - perhaps it's not such a "sin" to bring my own tortillas…???

tommy123400 2011-09-12 13:42:47 -0500 Report

I don't think any good restaurant would object to you bringing your own tortillas. I would explain to the waiter or waitress that it is am dietary requirement and leave it at that.

MEGriff1950 2011-09-12 11:29:34 -0500 Report

I say tell your family that what you do is not a reflextion on them it is on you. Also if they cannot understand your dietary needs then it might be time to adopt them out and find a new family.

JoleneAL 2011-07-23 07:31:01 -0500 Report

More and more restaurants are putting calorie and carb counts on their websites. I have started checking these before going out to eat so I'm prepared ahead of time for what I'm going to eat. I love the fact the fast food restaurants post these right out in the open on a wall next to where you order. I wish more fancier restaurants would add a page to their menus and do this, or just have it printed up so we can ask for them. If I'm not sure, I stick with a salad and seafood.

tommy123400 2011-07-23 16:06:32 -0500 Report

I agree with you on the facts. It should become a law that nutrition facts be shown for meals in restaurants. Being a Chef for 35 years, I have found seafood one of my best choices made for my diet. I also had 7 restaurants in the Florida Keys for years and found a lot of different ways to prepare such.

CaliKo 2011-07-22 23:51:59 -0500 Report

Hi Tommy, I often order grilled salmon or tuna with vegetables, or on a salad with lots of vegetables. Dressing on the side of course, and often not touched. If I have a meat or chicken dish, I'll divide into appropriate portions and take some home for the next day. I'll also have roasted vegetable salads at a couple of places.

tommy123400 2011-07-23 16:14:45 -0500 Report

Hi Caliko !! Long time since we talked. Hope things are well with you and yours. We just moved into a new house and I LOVE my kitchen. I see you have been trying some of my recipes and I thank-you. I have to find someone that can proof-read my book and put in order. Its been a hard trip this time. The name of my book is " A Personal Flair " As soon as I can get it organized, I'll send you one as a gift cause you helped me more than you know when I first came here and this is my thank-you. God bless tommy PS Don't worry,, I'll still post recipes.

pattroyka58 2011-07-28 14:08:12 -0500 Report

Tommy, I'm not a professional proofreader, but my family says I should be one because grammar, spelling and punctuation errors drive me nuts! I'd be glad to take a look and see what I can do.

CaliKo 2011-07-23 18:08:52 -0500 Report

Hi Tommy,
I'm so glad you are happy with your kitchen! I believe kitchens are the heart of the home.
Yes, I have been enjoying your recipes, thank you for posting so many! My six in-laws that came for a visit all had to copy the spinach-artichoke dip recipe, it was quite a hit. And, thank you in advance for your cookbook, that's such a lovely gift! I love cookbooks and yours will have a well-worn place of honor. Will you sign it for me?
Hugs, Karen

CaliKo 2011-07-23 19:28:05 -0500 Report

You know you don't owe me a thing, but I'll cherish it forever! I'm happy to hear that I helped you.