6 Carb Counting Tips for Takeaways & Eating Out
Carb counting takeaways and restaurant food can be more difficult than usual meals, as you haven’t made the food yourself and there are no nutritional labels.
They tend to be big portions; high in carbs, fat and protein; and can often cause a larger increase in blood glucose than you may expect, which can happen several hours after eating the meal.
It’s common for people to underestimate carbs in these situations, and the insulin needed, because takeaways can contain significantly more carbs than everyday meals. And it’s easy to forget about sauces and dips – more on that below.
So let’s get stuck into our 6 carb counting tips for takeaways and eating out.
1. Check restaurant website
If you’re eating out at a well known restaurant chain, check their website on your phone. Many have the nutritional values listed.
2. Carbs & Cals book & app
Use the Carb & Calorie Counter book or Carbs & Cals app to look up the foods. Compare the amount on your plate with the photos in the book to quickly see the carbs in your meal. This helps with choosing portion sizes too.
3. Compare to foods eaten at home
For carb foods that you normally eat at home (like rice, chips or bread), relate these to the food in your takeaway or restaurant meal.
For example, compare noodles from a Chinese restaurant to those you’d make yourself.
or how many slices of bread would be the equivalent of a naan bread.
4. Photo the food and make notes
Learn how your favourite meals affect blood glucose levels. Take a quick snap on your phone, and make a note for the next time you order your go-to dishes.
If you take insulin and found that you’ve underestimated the carbs, this will help you remember to consider taking more next time.
5. Consider 10g carbs for sauce
If you are unsure how many carbs are in a sauce, consider counting it as 10g of carbs, unless it is a sweet sauce (like sweet & sour), which will have more.
6. Remember to count carbs in dips
Consider if you need to count carbs in dips like chilli sauce, ketchup, mango chutney, mayo, sweet chilli sauce, and sweet & sour sauce. Some are carb-free, while others may add significant carbs, especially if you squeeze and dollop a lot onto your plate.
How many carbs do you need?
If you’re wondering how many carbs you need, we’ve done a separate video: CARBS: How many do you need each day? Watch it here:
Monitor your Takeaways!
All the foods above are from the Carb & Calorie Counter and Pocket Counter books, and Carbs & Cals app.