Top Diets 2004: Low-Carb Dining Out

Tips on how to keep your low-carb diet while dining out.

Whether it's haute cuisine or carryout, restaurants are scrambling to create Atkins-friendly and low-carb menus that will please palates and appease consciences. But before you abandon the kitchen in favor of dining out, here are a few things to keep in mind.

*BEFORE YOU . . . try to order a low-carb latte at Caribou Coffee, KNOW THAT . . . its promotional Skinny 'Bou Low Carb Latte was pulled after just two weeks–it had only 7 grams of carbs but also 780 calories and 84 grams of fat.

*BEFORE YOU . . . lament having to forgo Bobby Van's Steakhouse's cottage fries, KNOW THAT . . . you're not alone. Manager John Simkins says half his patrons now ask for broccoli, green beans, or cauliflower instead.

*BEFORE YOU . . . place your order at PF Chang's, KNOW THAT . . . you can request this Chinese chain's Training Table Menu, which includes a list of high-protein dishes and details their nutritional information.

*BEFORE YOU . . . wrap your hands around Subway's Atkins-Friendly Turkey and Bacon Melt, KNOW THAT . . . it's got 430 calories and 25 grams of fat–not the stuff that made Jared skinny.

*BEFORE YOU . . . opt for the "Carb Free" Garden Salad at Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe in Rockville, KNOW THAT . . . none of the dressings is carb-free, though the balsamic olive oil, Caesar, and bleu cheese are low-carb.

*BEFORE YOU . . . swear off all greasy spoons, KNOW THAT . . . Silver Diner's new TLC menu includes breadless meatloaf, blueberry pancakes, even low-carb milkshakes.

*BEFORE YOU . . . bite into the Einstein Bros. Lower Carb 9-Grain Bagel, KNOW THAT . . . you're still eating 18 grams of net carbohydrates. For Atkins followers, that's a lot of the suggested daily intake.