3 - Coping with meals out and panic meals
Meals out and visiting
- If you think you may not be able to get a filling low carb meal when out or visiting, either eat something beforehand or take an emergency snack with you.
- Favourite emergency meals of mine include vacuum-packed spicy meat snacks, nuts or hard cheese for protein/fat together with a generous quantity of raw celery, courgette or green/French beans for veggies/fibre.
- Not liking to miss out on 'milk' in my tea, I always take a supply of unsweetened soya milk around with me. A certain brand of multivitamin supplement comes in a plastic screw top pot which I find is just right to keep me supplied for the day whilst fitting neatly into my handbag!
- To keep my 'milk' and cheese etc cool until it's time to consume them, I keep them in the fridge or freezer until I'm about to go out, then wrap them in pieces of bubble wrap inside a plastic bag.
- When invited out for a meal, and the host asks what is good for your diet, a roast is usually a good bet. (But make sure that at least some of the vegetables are going to be white or green low carb ones - it usually comes as a great surprise to other people that parsnips, peas, and carrots are high in sugars!) A barbecue is good too, but ask for your ribs, burgers or chicken legs etc to be left plain - barbecue sauces and marinades can be very high in sugar.
- Checking the meal plan out beforehand saves the embarrassment of finding out too late that the host hadn't understood 'no flour, sugar or other high carb foods' means you can't have the soup, the melon or grapefruit starter, the cheese sauce on the cauliflower, the carrots, peas and parsnips, or the fresh fruit for afters! If your host starts getting confused or exasperated, offer to bring some of your meal with you. I always like to keep individual pieces of home made low carb quiche in my freezer for this eventuality. Then all the host has to do is heat it up, and provide plenty of green veg or green salad. Or suggest you'll have grated cheese over the top of a plateful of hot green veggies - this is much tastier than it sounds.
- It's usually too complicated to explain the ins and outs of what desserts you can have, so again, offer to help your host out by taking your own. My favourite is to take along a home made low carb yoghurt. Alternatively, just say you'll be fine with any kind of cheese for dessert.
- If you're going to be staying for 'tea', ie a bread-based meal, ask if you can have a green salad with cheese or tinned tuna instead, or take along your own home made low carb bread.
There are always those times when you arrive home later than expected, when you can't get out to the shops, or when you've nearly got the pizza on the table for the other members of the household and then realise you've forgotten about the low carber. With such times in mind I always keep a stock of the following:
- Tin of tuna or braised steak (very low carb brand)
- Tin of French beans (in water, no sugar)
- Vacuum packed smoked pork sausage (very low carb brand)
- Full fat cream cheese
- Hard cheese
- Low carb nuts
These are in addition to items I keep stocked in the freezer such as individual portions of low carb meatloaf or quiche, and frozen low carb veggies, all of which can be microwaved in a minute or two.
This way I feel I've always got a reasonable choice of quick to prepare items.
If you would like to contribute any hints and ideas, please contact us.