Carb-Counting as a Way to Plan Meals

Carb-counting is one way to make sure that your meals fit into your plan of choice. This is a practical option to ensure that you include the right amount of nutrients in your meals.

Benefits for Dieters

Once dieters learn how to count carbohydrates, it is easy to find and fit different products into their plan. Thus they can include a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables by checking the nutrition label. Another benefit is that dieters can control their glucose levels and readings. This is especially important for patients with diabetes. Moreover, it allows you to plan your meals in advance and ensure that you have a balanced menu.

Slow vs. Quick Acting Carbs

children-snacksThere is a difference between simple and complex carbohydrates, and the main one is their glycemic index value. Examples of low GI foods include porridge, oat bran, whole wheat, mushrooms, cabbage, and others. Foods with a high GI are parsnip, pumpkin, dates, instant mashed potatoes, and French fries. Products with a high glycemic index value cause spikes in insulin levels. Foods that are high in protein and fat do not have the same negative effect on glucose levels. This is why carb counting is important. It helps dieters to control their blood sugar levels, lose weight, and fight diseases such as heart problems, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and others.

How to Count Carbohydrates

One option is to check the amount of dietary fiber and carbohydrates on the nutrition label. If a product has 5 grams of dietary fiber and 18 grams of carbs, it contains 13 grams of net carbs. Check the nutrition label for sugar alcohols as well because they are more difficult to absorb. To make sure that your menu fits into your diet, you may want to consume more foundation vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, and hearty greens. Then have some high-fat foods such as cream and hard cheeses. If you find all this time consuming, there are other methods to try.

Online Tools

You can use online calculators, charts, tables, and other tools. The first thing to do is to calculate your daily recommended intake. There are calculators that help you to do this. Just enter your activity level, weight, height, sex, and age. For example, if you are a 32-year old female who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 180 pounds, your daily intake is 2051 calories to maintain your current weight. The amount of carbohydrates to consume depends on your plan of choice. If you are on the Zone Diet, for example, some 40 percent of your calories should be in the form of carbohydrates. Some plans also come with printable and downloadable food lists and carb counters to make it easier for dieters to track their daily intake. Other tools include a comprehensive database and allow you to find foods by total amount of saturated and monounsaturated fat, amount of carbohydrates, trans fat, cholesterol, and so on. You can choose between 200-gram and 100-gram servings. Another option is to base you search on a certain category, for example, sweets, snacks, oils and fats, legumes, seed and nut products, and others. The tool allows you to find foods that are lowest or highest in certain nutrients. Regardless of the tool or method of choice, the daily intake depends on whether you are on the Atkins, South Beach, Zone, Low GI, or any other plan. The most important thing is to limit the consumption of simple carbohydrates.

Online Resources

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.