Phone Apps for Dining Out on a Low Carb Diet

Phone apps help low carbers to find decent restaurants and fast food joints that offer healthy and inexpensive food options. Apps allow users to check suggested meals and nutrition data, search for restaurants, and read user comments.

Features and Extras

smart-phoneDining apps come complete with features and extras such as nutrition guides, list of low carb foods, and browsing capabilities. Users can choose from hundreds of casual dining and fast food restaurants. They can browse by different features such as location, name of restaurant, meal type, carb range, and more. There is an option to read articles in low carb blogs as well. Some apps also list drinks and beverages, including wines, sodas, and beers. Carb counter apps and weight loss trackers are also available for different types of mobile devices. Some apps allow users to find nutritional information on restaurant meals and groceries and offer healthy recipes. They can create a low carb plan or stick to the recommended plan. The app offers recipes, food suggestions, and more. There are additional features that allow dieters to keep track of their progress and count the net carbs consumed with each meal. Information about different foods is also offered, and you can set a daily target. The best part is that some apps can be downloaded for free while others cost a few dollars. They are available for Android, iPad, and iPhone.

Dieters benefit from added features such as:

• Unlimited reminders
• Food database
• Supermarket, common foods, and restaurant suggestions
• Shopping lists
• Graphs showing daily progress
• Carb and sugar content for hundreds of items
• Water tracking
• Information on sodium, sugar, protein, saturated fat, fat, calories, and net carbs in foods consumed
• Choice of food brands
• Set net carbs budget
• Set water budget
• Restaurants listed alphabetically
• Nutrition reports

Low carb dining apps are great for the Zone, Sugar Busters, South Beach, Atkins, and Paleolithic Diet. This is a great tool for persons with a busy work schedule and social life. One app offers an overview of menus at different restaurants so that dieters make healthy choices. Customers can read feedback and suggestions by other dieters and leave their comments to help others. On the downside, the app lists only restaurants but not bakeries.

Other Apps

There are other apps for mobile devices which allow dieters to count carbs and lose weight based on their target and current weight, height, sex, and other factors. Some apps allow users to search for sugar-free, high-fiber, and protein-rich foods and recipes. Users can choose from different gluten-free and dairy-free recipes as well. Each recipe comes with nutrition facts such as total protein, carb, sodium, saturated fat, and fat content. Other apps allow dieters to choose a recipe by main ingredient and course. The app also displays recipes for low-sodium, gluten-free, and other types of diets.

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Fast Food and Chain Restaurants When on a Low Carb Diet

Most people associate fast food with burgers, chips, and coke. However, fast food chains are changing their menus to offer healthier alternatives and foods with less sodium, sugar, and other simple carbohydrates.

Some Tips

IMG_1906It is a good idea to read the nutritional information to find the amount of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. As a rule, dressings are packed with carbohydrates while drinks are laden with sugar. Fat-free versions should be avoided because they contain added sugar. Good choices include the Light Italian, Creamy Caesar, and Ranch Dressing. Avoid mayo that contains corn syrup. If you want to have a sandwich, order without the bun. Some buns include as much as 30 grams of carbs. You can have an omelet sandwich, for example. Another option is to have the filling wrapped in lettuce. Many chains offer this option. While burgers contain no carbohydrates, the extras and condiments do. Onion, tomato, and cheese are good choices as they are low in carb content. Ordering fish is a bit tricky. In some fast food chains, fish fillets are breaded so fish has to go. The same goes for crispy and home style chicken patties as well as chicken fillets.

Salads, Sides, and Drinks

Salads are always a great healthy choice, but watch for certain ingredients. Avoid salads with tortilla strips and croutons and opt for versions with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, hearty greens, walnuts, and sugar-free dressings. Avoid salads that contain breaded chicken. Most salads offered by chains such as KFC contain breaded chicken. When it comes to low carb sides, there isn’t much of a choice. You can have cole slaw or green beans, for example. There are some low carb drinks such as diet soda and unsweetened iced tea but some chains offer sweetened ice teas that are loaded with sugar. Coffee and water are safe choices.

Alternatives to Fast Food Chains

If you don’t have the time to cook and love ready made foods, go to the convenience or grocery store. The salad bar is one option to consider. Or you can buy pre-made salads and deli foods. And you can always have meal replacement bars between meals. Check the label for sugar alcohols when buying snack bars. Some products contain maltitol which is a sugar substitute. The problem is that maltitol contains carbohydrates and has a negative impact on blood sugar levels. It has a high glycemic index value. When it comes to fruits, consumption depends on your diet plan. Some diets allow low-sugar fruits while others ban them during the introductory stage. Low-sugar fruits include blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and others. Check the ingredients if buying a ready made fruit salad.

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Making Wise Low Carb Choices when Dining Out

Sticking to a low carb diet is more difficult when dining out, especially if you are going to your favorite restaurant. Of course, it all depends on whether you are out with friends on a special occasion or business dinner, whether you love Indian, Italian, Mexican, Greek, or any other cuisine. Some restaurants offer plenty of choice when it comes to low carb meals, while others offer mostly carb-heavy meals.

Italian Restaurants

Even if you love pizza and spaghetti, they are not the best choices. The problem with Italian food is that bread, pastas, and pizzas are loaded with carbohydrates. Still you can choose from a selection of meals when dining out. Order dishes with lean meat, seafood, and fresh herbs, vegetables, and seasonings. There are some don’ts as well, including eggplant parmesan, breaded foods, crostini, bruschetta, polenta, risotto, and others. The foods to avoid also depend on the plan you follow. If you are in the induction phase of the Atkins Diet, for example, you should avoid foods that contain bread crumbs. The good news is that many antipasti contain a mix of vegetables, seafood, and lean meats. Antipasto platters include a selection of marinated vegetables, different cheeses, and salami and are suitable for a low carb diet.

Mexican Restaurants

There is a world of meals you can try at a Mexican restaurant. Mexican cuisine is not only about tamales, enchiladas, and tacos. You can have Fajitas, grilled vegetables and meats, and seafood. Mexicans also use mole – this a sauce made of chocolate, seeds, spices, and chili. Breakfast foods are also low carb. The traditional breakfast includes vegetables, beef, and eggs. Of course, there are some foods to avoid, including chimichangas, enchiladas, and quesadillas. They are packed with carbohydrates. You can have the filling, however. Other foods to avoid include burritos, nachos, taquitos, and tacos. You can have low carb tortillas if offered.

Chinese Restaurants

The Chinese cuisine is healthy and tasty, but there are plenty of high-carb meals to be avoided. The list of banned foods includes eggs rolls, steamed and fried rice, and breaded meats. Other dishes to avoid include deep fried wontons and noodles. Some sauces are loaded with or contain sugar. Examples include oyster sauce, plum sauce, and sweet and sour sauce. You can have some, but try to limit consumption. As a rule, thick sauces and soups contain corn starch. The good news is that there are plenty of safe meals to choose from, including barbeque, walnut chicken, and stir fried dishes. Veggie and meat combinations are also safe choices.

Regardless of whether you love Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Indian, or Moroccan food, there are safe choices and meals to avoid. If unsure about the ingredients, you can always ask the waiter or request that certain ingredients are not used when preparing your salad or meal.

How much to tip in restaurants and pubs around the world

As a voluntarily payment rewarded for good services, tipping worldwide depends on various cultural factors you need to consider. Tipping at restaurants is generally considered as part of the etiquette. Whereas it is a widely practiced social custom in some countries, in others it might be regarded as an insulting behavior. Always read about the tipping customs in the country you visit, or you may end up looking awkward.

How much to tip in Great Britain

Waitstaff in Britain benefits from stiff minimum wage requirements. Therefore tipping at British restaurants is entirely optional. Since legal requirements regulate all taxes and charges to be included in price, any additional charges are unusual. However some restaurants, mainly in the large cities, may require service charges of 10 percent. It is considered absolutely legal to refuse to pay the service charge if the services was not up to standard.

How much to tip in the United States

Tipping is customary in the USA and varies according to the quality of the service rendered. Restaurants in the United States add regulated service charge (~18 percent). Customers are expected to pay an additional amount of between 15-25 percent on consumption. The rate is regulated by the Memorandum of the National Association of restaurateurs in the U.S.

If you received free items or used a discount, it is appropriate to tip on the total amount of the bill, as if you would pay the full price. If you have special requests and requirements, it is expected that you tip the waitstaff appropriately. In restaurants with take out meals, you may leave a tip of 10 percent. In sit down-only locations, you may tip at around 15 percent for the effort. You may also want to tip the sommelier between 15 and 20 percent of your total wine consumption. In bars, you may leave a tip of 10 to 15 percent to the bartender. However, if the bar is particularly crowded, it is better to leave a generous tip. In case that the bartender serves you complimentary drinks, it is polite to tip at about half their price.

Waitstaff in USA is often paid very low wages and tipping is assumed to compensate the difference.

How much to tip in Canada

Tipping in Canada tends to be a bit lower in comparison to that in the USA. The reason is the higher minimum wages paid to waitstaff. Customers are expected to tip about 10-15 percent on the before-tax total bill. A tip of 20 percent is considered appropriate for exceptional service. It is a common practice for many restaurants to charge an automatic gratuity of 15 percent or more for larger groups.

How much to tip in Germany

Tipping in Germany as in other European countries is not as generous as in North America. A tip of 5-10 percent of the bill is considerate to offer for good services in German restaurants. Typically Germans leave €1 per bill of €20. It is regarded inappropriate to let the waitstaff give you back cents unless the customer is not satisfied with the service. However, you need to articulate reasonable arguments. For instance, you can’t expect to be served meals that are not on the menu list!

How much to tip in France

As a rule, service charge in France as well as in other Mediterranean countries is in the range of 10 – 15 percent of the total bill. Usually, the menu indicates that the charge has already been included in the prices listed. When the menu says “service not included” there will be a note of the amount of the charge at the end of the bill. Though the service is included, it is also customary to give something extra if delighted.

How much to tip in Italy

A tip of 10 percent, left on the table, in addition to the service charge (between 7 and 10 percent) is considered appropriate. The Italian staff is not accustomed to being tipped but will be pleased if you give them something extra. Many foreign tourists have been given back the money they had left on the table upon leaving. Moreover waitstaff is well paid and that also explains why tipping is rare. Italians like to tip only if they consider the food and the service exceptional. And in fact, just between 10 and 20 percent of the restaurant guests tip.

How much to tip in Spain

Tipping is not considered obligatory in Spanish restaurants as there is a service charge included in the bill. A pleased customer may leave a tip of 7 to 10 percent in addition to the charge. In general, the amount of the tip depends on the economic and social status of customers and the class of the restaurant – the higher the class, the higher percentage is expected. It is customary, particularly in small restaurants, to leave the small change left after paying the bill.

How much to tip in Australia

Tipping has never been a traditional practice among Australians. However, perhaps due to the American cultural influence, it has recently gained popularity particularly in the larger cities. A tip of 10 percent is exceptional and could be handed over in case of excellent service and in fine restaurants only. In general, most Aussies like to round up a bill by leaving coins on the table.
Australian restaurant staff gets paid good hourly wages and tipping isn’t a reason for rendering better services.

How much to tip in Japan

Tipping is highly unusual anywhere in Japan, not to mention even insulting. Moreover, Japanese staff perceives tipping an offense because they believe doing their job well goes without saying.

The sheer act of taking out money directly from your pocket and handing it over is considered impolite, even rude. A satisfied customer, instead, may put a gratuity in a small envelope and then hand it over to a staff member (that’s a practice in Japanese-style inns only).

How much to tip in India

Tipping in India is customary though not mandatory. Waitstaff gets about 10-15 percent of the total bill in case no service charge is added. In restaurants of high-end hotels, where tipping is discretionary, an additional 10 percent service surcharge is also included. In case of smaller restaurants, waiters get local currency notes (rupees) as a tip rather than a percentage of the bill. Few rupees are appropriate if the service was good.

How much to tip in China

Tipping is not accepted in China since it is not part of the local culture. Furthermore, it is officially prohibited to tip. Restaurants have a strict “no tipping policy”. Exceptions to the rule are the westernized areas of Hong Kong and Macau and other major cities where a tip of 3 percent is common as well as some restaurants in prestigious hotels serving foreign tourists who have adopted the tipping practice.