Sticking to your meal plan doesn't mean you can't eat out in restaurants or accept friends' dinner invitations. But you do have to take precautions:

• Keep your meal plan with you until you know it well.

• Order plainly cooked, familiar foods. Avoid casseroles, fried foods, cream soups, gravies, sauces, stuffings, breaded meats, and desserts.

• Try ordering ala carte. Ask the server about any food you're not familiar with.

• Measure foods at home so you'll be able estimate portions when you go out. Restaurant portions tend to be generous, so plan to share your meal or bring part of it home.

• Call ahead for information about menu offerings so you can plan your meal. This applies to both restaurants and friends. Don't be afraid to explain your meal plan requirements. People will usually cooperate.

• Never eat unacceptable foods to please your hostess or the cook. Your health is more important.

• Try to eat within an hour of your regular meal time. If there is a delay, ask for some crackers or bread sticks.

• Always carry some form of fast-acting sugar (see Chapter 8).

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