The travails of dining out

This past week, my family and I traveled to Baltimore so I could present a paper on T1D at a conference. We had a great time, but we failed to manage my son’s blood glucose levels and keep him in a healthy range. At one point, his BG was over 400 for several hours. The difficulty we ran into is a lack of available nutritional info. At restaurants. We tend to stay away from local restaurants unless we know the cooking methods are clean–without added chemicals and unnecessary fats and sugars, as all of these wreak havoc on bg. Local restaurants do not have the means to do food analysis, so it’s chains for us. But even then, a lot of chains do not provide nutritional info despite federal mandates that they do so. Some of the offenders we have encountered in the past include:
– Cracker Barrel
– Texas Roadhouse
– Quaker Steak and Lube
– Plaza Azteca
– Hard Rock Cafe
– Buffalo Wild Wings
– cookout
– Planet Hollywood
– Phillipp’s Seafood

Still, even when restaurants do provide nutritional info, it can be inaccurate due to inconsistent portion size. For example, even though Outback provides nutritional info, we’ve found that Cole’s bg goes high every time we eat there. Same goes for Red Lobster. Panera and Chick-fil-a seem to have the most accurate nutritional information based on Cole’s post-prandial bg (that’s a bg two hours after eating–if it falls between 80 and 180, we assume we dosed correctly based in the nutritional info). Some places we’ve learned to avoid because provided carb counts are exceptionally high. For instance, even if you skip the cheesecake, you can count on eating at least 100 carbs at The Cheesecake Factory. If you indulge and enjoy cheesecake, be prepared to consume an additional 100-200 carbs. Yikes! That’s probably as much as you should consume in an entire day!

It usually takes several days for bg to recover from a weekend trip–which is why we travel only when necessary these days. Unfortunately with the holidays around the corner, the necessity will be rather frequent, but we have plans to pack lunches while we travel. It’s just a shame roadside picnic tables no longer exist!

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