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.

Quality of protein matters

What kind of meat and eggs you buy matters in how healthy your eating plan is. The lower quality sources of animal protein can be “Franken-foods,” where the manner in which the animals are raised so alters the nutritional composition of the food that it is not particularly healthy or downright unhealthy.

An organic egg, for instance, is pretty much a perfect food. It has the perfect one-to-one ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fat, and it’s packed with protein and other nutrients. But a factory-farmed egg contains as much as 19 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids, making it downright unhealthy.  Remember when eggs were vilified as dangerous for your health?  That was true, but not because of the cholesterol.  It was and is true because of the imbalance of fatty acids, which is brought about by the way in which the chickens are cared for.  (Feed Your Kids Well, p. 84).

Similarly, grass-fed beef and dairy products derived from grass-fed cows are better for you than grain-fed, because cows evolved to eat grass, not grain.  The meat from a grass-fed cow is nutritionally different from the meat from a grain-fed cow.