Eating Out

How do you eat low carb while you are traveling or eating out? A lot more easily than you eat low calorie.

It’s an ordeal to order a low-calorie meal from a commercial kitchen. I spent years trying to order plain, steamed broccoli (which was never on the menu) for my kids in restaurants so they could fill up on something besides chicken fingers. Until I learned to emphasize “plain, no butter, no oil” it would come to the table coated in fat. The only place I can think of that is familiar with providing low fat, low calorie meals is at a residential weight loss clinic. Any other commercial kitchen and you are fighting against the tide.

On a low carb plan, on the other hand, eating out is pretty easy. Order a protein (meat, fish or eggs), veggies if they have them (sure, the butter or oil is fine!), or a salad with full fat (no sugar, hopefully) dressing if you like that, or else plain. Skip the low calorie dressings that are high carb. No vegetables or salad? No problem. Try again at your next meal. Meanwhile you’ll be full and satisfied from your hunk of protein, which will naturally also contain a good amount of fat, not hungry two hours later from the potatoes you ate.

If your children are older and able to travel independently, the low carb eating plan is easier for them to manage than a low fat, high carb plan. Juliana took a ski trip with her school while on the standard American “healthy” diet followed by the Packard program and had no choice but to eat a lot of “red” foods. Then she took a teen service trip to Costa Rica on the low carb plan. It took some planning and reminding–I wrote her eating plan on her medical form and had to nudge her to talk to the trip leader when I discovered she had eaten low carb bars she brought along for snacks as meals when there wasn’t something else she could eat. Then she found a kosher counselor who also had to eat different food sometimes–neither of them could eat the meat/cheese lasagne they had for dinner one night–and from there on out it went smoothly.

Low carb is easy to explain: green vegetables, salad, meat, chicken, eggs. Butter and oil ok. The eating plan includes ingredients that any commercial kitchen will have on hand, and their usual methods of preparation are fine. They don’t have to try to cook without oil, for instance. They just have to serve the carbs separately from the rest of the food so your child can avoid them.

We try a Low Carb eating plan

Lots of disparate information was clicking into place in my head and pointing to a low carb eating plan. Juliana’s reaction to my research was precious.  She commented to her dad, mama’s been reading books again…  I do have a tendency to research.  Nonetheless, she was game.  We embarked on a low carb eating plan.  After 5 days, at her next weekly weight check at the Packard program, she was down 3.5 pounds.  (The first thing that happens on a low carb diet is that you dump retained water.  Many people find that they feel and look less puffy and bloated eating low carb).

The Packard people were a little startled.  They immediately ascribed the weight loss to Juliana exercising more, since her total of red foods was the same.  The most Juliana had lost in one week up to that point was 1.5 pounds.  By the calories in/calories out logic, she would have had to have burned an additional 7000 calories to explain the additional two pounds of weight loss, which she hadn’t come close to doing.  7000 calories is 10 hours of running at 10 minutes a mile.  She was exercising more, but not an extra hour and a half of running every single day. I knew exercise couldn’t explain the sudden drop in weight, and had high hopes for the controlled carbohydrate eating plan.