By: Janis Roszler
Do your favorite restaurants and fast-food eateries fit comfortably into your diabetes meal plan? Now they can!
The American Diabetes Association recently published the second edition of the “Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating,” by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. It is filled with exactly what you need to make healthy choices at the restaurants you enjoy.
Information on Over 3,500 Menu Items
Warshaw is also the author of numerous other books, which include the “American Diabetes Association’s Complete Guide to Carb Counting,” “The Diabetes Food and Nutrition Bible” and “Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy” (2nd edition).
In the “Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating,” she provides nutritional information for more than 3,500 menu items found at more than 55 of the best-known restaurant chains across America-including McDonalds, Bos-ton Market, Denny’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Dunkin’ Donuts. The nutritional data Warshaw provides includes calories and amounts of carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. In addition, the author has calculated diabetes servings, or exchanges.
The book begins with approximately 50 pages of helpful hints for restaurant dining. It includes “Ten Strategies for Eating Out Healthfully,” “Diabetes Dining Dilemmas,” a guide to alcohol use, and ways to keep your sweet tooth under control. Especially helpful is a list of tricks for estimating food portions.
Restaurants are listed by category and alphabetically. The section titled “Burgers, Fries, and More” is the obvious home of Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Hardee’s and Jack-in-the-Box informa- tion. “Breakfast Eats, Donuts, Coffees, Snacks, and More” is where you’ll find Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Star-bucks. Other categories include “Pizza, Pasta, and All Else Italian” and “Chicken-Fried, Roasted, or Grilled.”
Each category section opens with healthy tips unique to that group of eateries, followed by “Nutrition Pros and Cons” and special “Get It Your Way” suggestions, which highlight how to order the foods in the healthiest way possible.
For each restaurant listed, Warshaw provides two sample meals-a “Light ‘n Lean Choice” and a “Healthy ‘n Hearty Choice.” These sample meals demonstrate ways to put together a healthy meal from the restaurant menu.
For example, if you frequent Boston Market, Warshaw’s “Light ‘n Lean Choice” is macaroni and cheese, whole kernel corn, zucchini marinara and fruit salad. The calorie total is 590, with only 19 grams of fat. For McDonald’s, the “Healthy ‘n Hearty Choice” is grilled chicken deluxe (without mayo), small french fries, and a garden salad with ranch dressing, totaling 730 calories and 32 grams of fat. Both sample meals are designed to adhere to a restriction of 30-40% of calories from fat, 100-200 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,000-2,000 milligrams of sodium.
Next come the nutritional lists, which detail the calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein content of each menu item. People who use carbohydrate counting as their meal planning tool will find this guide extremely useful. If, however, you find data listings a bit overwhelming, or if you must make a menu choice quickly, Warshaw has placed “Healthiest Bets” checkmarks next to recommended menu items on each list.
The “Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating” is not just for people with diabetes. All those who care about healthy eating can use this guide to help make better menu choices when they eat out. Personally, I plan to tear out the pages containing information about the restaurants that I frequent and keep them in my wallet. Because the book is compact, you can also easily toss it into a carry-on suitcase when traveling.
One book cannot possibly list every menu item in more than 55 eateries, of course. Therefore, as an added plus, Warshaw has included almost every restaurant’s Internet address so that you can contact them directly with additional questions.
The “Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating,” 2nd edition, is available in bookstores nationwide, on the Web at Amazon.com or www.diabetes.org, or by calling (800)232-6733. n