Dining Out: Local Drive-Ins and Plate Lunch Restaurants

Drive-ins are a popular local food destination in Hawaii. Whether you dine in, or take out, drive ins offer many of your favorite local dishes for a reasonable price. The staple of the Drive-In restaurant is the plate lunch: two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad slathered in mayo, a choice of tasty meat (always greasy), served in a styrofoam container. Recently, restaurants specializing in the Hawaiian plate lunch have popped up on the continental U.S. including states like California, Oregon, Texas, Nevada, and New York!  The reality is that Drive-In food is here to stay. If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) or diabetes, following your meal plan becomes tricky, but eating out doesn’t have to knock you off course. Knowing what foods to eat and which cooking methods are healthiest are key parts of eating out.  Also being educated when it comes to portion sizes of carbohydrates and protein is important.

One way you can order a kidney and diabetes friendly plate lunch is to order the mini sized version which is usually 1 scoop of white rice, 1 scoop of macaroni salad and a smaller sized portion of meat.  In addition, you can request to substitute the macaroni salad for tossed green salad, and request to have the gravy or sauce served on the side.  This gives you the option of decreasing the sugar and sodium added to your meal.  Choosing an entrée that is grilled or broiled instead of breaded and deep fried is another way of ordering a healthier meal. Portion sizes are often large, so if you are trying to cut back, you can choose to eat half of your meal, and take the other half home for another meal.

Bottom line is that if you’re going to eat at a Drive-In, you’re probably not seeking out health food in the first place. But know that there is a healthier way you can order your meals whenever dining out.

For more information, contact Sherrie at sherrie@kidneyhi.org


Would you like to help Hawaii's only kidney charity the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii?
Donate your car to the Kidney Car Program, pledge your birthday to create your own birthday campaign or make a monetary donation today!