Enjoy Going Out with Friends and Eating Safely.

There is absolutely no reason to stop going out, socializing with friends and getting some quality of life time, even though we have medical and food challenges. It goes even deeper then that. Sometimes you just need a break from cooking, or your running late and need to eat in a pinch. It is a real help to have a list of 4-5 local restaurants or more importantly Diners that you know you can eat at safely and they will always treat you right. You just need to know a few things about restaurants, diners, and catered events to keep you safe. 

As far as Restaurants, and Diners are concern there are 2 types:
1. A Franchise Kitchen
2. A Scratch Kitchen

Let's take a look at the 2 and see what the differences are and why one is safe, and one is not.

Franchise Kitchen
Unfortunately, this type of restaurant kitchen is not now nor ever will be Loso Friendly or cater to our needs. A Franchise Kitchen is part of a big box, name brand restaurant who offers a menu supplied by the franchise headquarters. The Cooks employed by these restaurants basically get pre-prepared food in, in boxes, bags etc and just heat them up according to franchise guidelines. Even if they would like to help you out when you visit they can't as all food is already processed. They may be able to offer a salad or something like that so you don't have to sit there and watch your friends eat, but that's about it.

Examples of Franchise Kitchens would be:
Olive Garden
Red Lobster
Applebees

Scratch Kitchen
Even if you didn't have a need for a LoSo diet a Scratch Kitchen would always be the better choice. A Scratch Kitchen is exactly what it implies. It's a restaurant or Diner where most of the food is prepared from scratch, giving them control of ingredients allowing them to suit your needs when you visit. Local family owned restaurants and Diners are great examples of Scratch Kitchens, there are also a few Franchise Restaurants that are serving food from scratch. Great examples of those would be Steak House franchises.

Examples of Scratch Kitchens would be:
Texas Road House
Longhorn Steak House
Local Mom & Pop Diners

Quick Tips for Dinning Out & Socializing

1. Create an "A" list of places to eat.
Have 3-5 places you know in advance will cater to your LoSo needs, they are your "go to's" for socializing or just when you don't feel like cooking.

2. Don't be afraid to ask how food is prepared.
A good eatery will be able to tell you what ingredients are in their foods. If they can remove salt from the recipe, or even what not to eat. Ask if any food is soaked in or preserved in a salt brine. A lot of times french fries are soaked in a salt brine to keep them fresh.

3. Have it put on the "side"
If you want to control your sodium intake on items you just can't remove the salt/sodium from, ask to have it served on the side. This way you can add as much or as little of the item you feel comfortable with. Examples would be salad dressing, baked potato items like butter and sour cream, etc.

4. Bring it with you.
It seems a little weird at first and you may get glares from other diners, but bring items with you that you know are safe can go a long way to ensure a fun and safe night out. Items such as your favorite spices used as your salt substitutes, LoSo salad dressing you make at home.What ever you like and will make you feel comfortable.

5. Talk to your Cardiologist and tell him/her what you have planned.
Most cardiologists will or should work with you to help you enjoy life. There are things that they can recommend for you that will help you enjoy safely a night out. Since I will never make medical recommendations on this site all I can say is my Cardiologist has approved an increase in certain meds when I go out for a night with friends that works perfectly for me. Just ask them.

These are my recommended Restaurants and Diners in the Berks County area

 

The Hitching Post
Click Here





      Crossroads Diner
      Click Here

 

       Wyomissing Family Restaurant
       Click Here

 



          Texas Roadhouse
          Click Here



                       Dan's at Green Hills
                      Click Here

 

Some Additional Tips That Will Make Dining Out Even More Enjoyable

6. If your friends are not committed to a place, ask them if you may select the restaurant.

7. If you are going somewhere you don't know, look it up on line and see if they have anything to offer on their menu.

8. Ask if any of the meal you selected was frozen or processed, packed in brine, or a sauce. Chances are if they say YES, the sodium level in that food is
   to high and it should be avoided.

9. Learn the basic Sodium levels in foods so you can keep track of your sodium intake while you are out. Most fresh meats are between 60-80 mg 4 per oz.
    a 12 oz steak is then about 225 mg of sodium. Knowing these basic sodium levels you can adjust your selection to stay safe.

A quick Word About Alcohol!

There is a good chance that a social night out with friends could involve the consumption of Adult Beverages. If you believe this will be the case the best thing to do is call your Cardiology Office and ask if you may imbibe. There are so many factors involved on a case-by-case basis that there is no "blanket" answer. Never just assume because you are feeling better that it's ok.