SBD Frequently Asked Questions - Eating Out at Restaurants and Others' Houses




beachgal
02-12-2009, 10:32 AM
Gymrat128 is wondering about how to deal with eating out at restaurants and others' houses, especially during Phase 1. Seems like a topic we could all use! Here's one question she has:

I eat at my MIL's house at least once/wk and it's usually a meat + potato + winter squash or cooked carrots + another veggie sometimes peas + dessert (freshly baked).

Even though I eat 20 meals on my own, that one meal worries me. How do I get through phase one?

I tend to bring my own food any time that I know it'll be hard for me to find something to eat. Every so often, I'm surprised by what's on offer and I don't need to eat my meal. But most of the time, it comes in handy. I haven't ever offended anyone, as far as I know. I just explain that I'm on a special diet and can't eat things off of it. People seem to understand.

I try to find out what the menu is before the event if we're going somewhere. I figure out what I might need to bring to make it safe for me. For instance, if they are having hamburgers, I'll bring a WW bun so I can have one, and then I'll bring a side dish, like coleslaw or 3 bean salad, that I can contribute to the dinner (and have myself).

That's another good technique when going to others' houses--offer to bring something (or just bring it!). I find it's especially helpful if I bring a dessert that I can have. It saves me from temptation with anything else that's around. Though, sometimes, I just bring a SF chocolate bar to eat and bring more of a main dish.

As for restaurants, the internet is your friend! Look up the menus and nutritional information before you go. When you're there, ask them if they have whole wheat bread or buns (make sure you point out that it needs to be whole wheat, not just wheat. Lots of people don't seem to get this). Look on the menu to see if they have something that comes on a whole-wheat bread or bun, then just ask them to use that on the item you want. For instance, in the past (it's been a while, so I don't know if they still have this), Applebee's used to have a whole-wheat (low carb?) wrap. They had a chicken fajita wrap I liked that came in a flour tortilla. I asked them to sub the wrap/tortilla from the other dish for the chicken fajita one so it would be SBD-safe. They had no problem doing it. :shrug:

A great fallback restaurant is Ruby Tuesday's. Besides the salad bar, they have a lot of great SBD-safe items on the menu and a ton of awesome veggie sides, including mashed cauliflower, yummy French green beans, and even brown rice with cheese. Yum! :T

What are your tips for eating out? Share them here! :D


Barb0522
02-12-2009, 10:55 AM
For someone where I was eating at their house regularly, I would probably try to explain some of the foods that are allowed and some that are not. If your MIL will not fix at least one vegetable that is phase 1 allowed, then either bring your own or make your excuses until you are in phase 2. For phase 2, you can bring a sweet potato to have if they are having baked potatoes. Family should be willing to cooperate.

Laurie's suggestions are wonderful! I do try to check out restaurant menus ahead of time. Seafood restaurants can be great too. We have one that has a healthy section with grilled seafood and steamed veggies as well as a large selection of sauces (of with the salsa is wonderful and perfectly acceptable).

beerab
02-12-2009, 11:28 AM
I agree- when I go to eat at someone's house I always ask what they are making- usually the person tells me in case it's something we don't like or won't eat.

Like my MIL would always make hot dogs and sloppy joes and stuff (we probably eat there once a month) and since I've told her that I'm dieting I'll do things like bring a salad or brown rice and she'll cook up vegetables and chicken, but she'll also have stuff like mashed potatoes so that everyone is happy. I can fill up on what I like and they can fill up on what they like (last time I brought brown rice and they were putting butter on their portions I wanted to laugh lol).

If the person is making something I can't eat- I'll eat at home then eat a tiny bit of food there and just be like oh it's so good and filling! That way I'll eat a tiny bit and not offend the person- but most people have been very nice about my diet and have definitely tried to not go crazy and make things I can't eat or suggest foods I can't have.


Priscatip
02-12-2009, 11:41 AM
As a relatively frequent host to close friends and family, I would love it if someone told me they had dietary restrictions. Of course, dining with people you don't know very well is different, but I would want to be involved in helping out my close family members (like my MIL). Maybe if you just let her know you're working on your health and that you have some new recipe ideas, she'd be willing to work with you. (Of course, I'd still bring something to help out). I personally would be embarrassed if I was offering something completely inappropriate for someone I was close to at an event that I was trying to make special for them.

zeffryn
02-12-2009, 12:04 PM
I agree with Priscatip. I entertain frequently and if my guests would tell me beforehand that they had dietary restrictions, I would be more than willing to accommodate. It would be much better than the guest just coming, informing me that they couldn't eat any of the food and then just sit there, grumpy, during dinner (it's happened twice).

mandalinn82
02-12-2009, 12:12 PM
I agree with Priscatip. I entertain frequently and if my guests would tell me beforehand that they had dietary restrictions, I would be more than willing to accommodate. It would be much better than the guest just coming, informing me that they couldn't eat any of the food and then just sit there, grumpy, during dinner (it's happened twice).

Sign me onto this. Now I just ask - "So, are there any foods you avoid?" Last time I threw a dinner party I had a guest who was pre-diabetic and watching refined carbs - I made one of my pizzas with a whole wheat crust, lighter cheese, and lots of veggies. I can be very flexible but it makes me nuts when people don't tell me, especially now that I ask!

beerab
02-12-2009, 12:41 PM
That's just dumb to sit there grumpy! I mean for me I at least try to look like I'm enjoying my dinner and so on (there are some people in my hubby's family who are very overweight and don't cook healthy at all) so they don't get offended.

emikeeann
02-12-2009, 01:06 PM
if you're wondering about going out to eat at restaurants, there is a book! Dr. Agatson came out with "The South Beach Diet Dining Guide" Very helpful for phase 1 eating out... he tells you which dishes to order at tons of popular restaurants, which can sometimes be more straightforward than a calorie count online :)

beachgal
02-12-2009, 04:56 PM
Lots of great tips! I think we have a lot of wonderful hostesses in this group! :D It's awesome that you are willing to make food that fits your guests' diets. I'd feel the same way!

I've had some bad experiences where someone went out of their way to make something just for me, but didn't listen when I told them what I can eat. Then I get in trouble because they are disappointed that I can't it eat and I feel awkward. I don't want to make someone feel bad, but I'm not putting myself in the position of having to do P1 for three days because I'm trying to save someone from embarassment. :shrug: Because of that, I find it easier to just bring something--though things like beerab was suggesting (making meat and veggies) tends to be fairly foolproof. I just run in to a lot of well-meaning people who think if it says "wheat" or "whole grain" on the box, it must be safe for SBD. :o

Sorry, that sounded kind of whiny and negative--didn't mean to do that! I really feel blessed when people are willing to acommodate my eating needs. And I think it's awesome that so many of you are willing to do that for friends and family. :love:

Chelby29
02-12-2009, 05:52 PM
I've had some bad experiences where someone went out of their way to make something just for me, but didn't listen when I told them what I can eat. Then I get in trouble because they are disappointed that I can't it eat and I feel awkward. I don't want to make someone feel bad, but I'm not putting myself in the position of having to do P1 for three days because I'm trying to save someone from embarassment. :shrug:

We just had that happen. DH's aunt knew we were 'dieting' and made us a beautiful, Weight Watcher Friendly pie. We could have the filling, but not the loverly graham cracker crust. "...but I made it with splenda..." I ate the filling.

redflatshoe2
02-12-2009, 10:25 PM
On my first week of PH1, I went to 4 parties (parent's anniversary, BF bday, marketing thing and friend's party). At my parent's dinner party, I ordered soup. My BF's bday, I brought green beans almondine to his parents house so I can pair the steak with my veg. Everybody ate the green beans. I did not stray from my diet.

Thin4Good
02-12-2009, 11:22 PM
I agree that it is SO much easier to bring your own food. Generally, I bring something to share. At a Christmas party we went to, which was pot luck, I brought smashed cauliflower and my version of sweet potato casserole. It worked out perfectly IMO because the hosts made a roast pork loin that went very well with my sweet potatoes! Someone else made a crab dip and I knew they were bringing it so I brought Triscuits and celery to share. Last week our neighbors had us over for dinner to celebrate their new grill. I brought squash and zucchini with onions and seasonings in foil packets to throw in the smoker.
Any time there are large gatherings and a meal, I ask if there will be a salad. If I can't eat the main course (which seems to always be pizza or pasta) I'll bring along my own dressing and a small packet of salmon or tuna. that way I don't have to go hungry.

As far as eating out- I used to always avoid eating at Arby's since I couldn't find anything to eat there but now they have salads there too. Almost everyone has something that is either on plan or that can be altered a bit. - I have found many fast food Chinese places are willing to give extra steamed veggies in the place of rice. I'm sure that some of the things I get are higher in fat than I would normally have but I really don't eat out that much and my struggle is usually more on the end of making sure I get enough calories so I try not to worry about it too much. I will err on the side of extra fat over extra sugar any day.

Thin4Good
02-12-2009, 11:52 PM
I wanted to add, on the grumpy guest note.... My family was on the way home the other day and I had to drop them off at home and go purchase a meal so that I could eat at a meeting where lunch was being provided but it was pizza, and bagels (which I think were provided to accommodate my diet. :P ) Well, on the way home I was busy telling DH that I had this meeting and had to hurry after dropping them because I had to go get food and go back. DS (7) said "Because they won't have anything you can eat, just junk!" :) I told him that I just don't eat the things that lots of other people do and it isn't THEIR job to accommodate MY food choices. That's my job.

I'm really only irritated about it when I am hungry so I do my best to avoid that!

Betsi
03-28-2009, 11:52 AM
What an AWESOME topic! Maybe this should get stickied in the FAQ section?

One thing I sometimes do, if the timing is right, is have a little to eat before I go so I'm not too hungry if there's nothing I can eat.

But like everyone else says, when you're going to a party or family dinner or something your best bet is to bring something. A salad is a pretty sure bet to go fairly well with almost anything.

As for eating out, I find that Cobb salads are a fairly reliable menu option, though usually you have to have them hold something. Almost everywhere have chicken and egg as part of the salad, so even if you have to hold everything but those two it's usually a pretty satisfying meal.

Ruthxxx
03-28-2009, 12:08 PM
Good idea, Betsi! I'll do that right now. Thanks.