Tips for Dining Out With Diabetes
In our health section we talked about dealing with diabetes, and one of the tips we covered was changing your diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends a healthy diet high in protein, fruits and non-starchy vegetables, with moderate calories and healthy fats. It can be difficult to adhere to the guidelines at home and even more challenging when dining out at any of the amazing eateries this city has to offer.
Although it’s challenging, it’s not impossible. Believe it or not, you can even eat fast food if you follow these simple guidelines.
Choosing a restaurant
Look for places that have a variety of menu options. The more varied the menu, the more likely you will be to find something that fits within the guidelines. If you can’t choose the restaurant, or if the restaurant has a limited menu, try one or more of the following:
- Ask the restaurant if it will allow you to make menu substitutions for no additional charges.
- Ask the restaurant if it will allow you to split entrees for no extra charge.
- Ask the restaurant if you can order sauces and dressings on the side, or if you can make special requests regarding preparation.
Before you eat
You should always check your blood sugar levels before each meal. This can be problematic when dining out because you either have to do it at the table or in the restroom. If you dine out often, you might want to invest in a discreet remote monitoring system from Dexcom or Medtronic. The remote monitoring system uses small sensors to take readings from your fingertip, and transmits the information to a remote receiver. There’s no need to carry lancets and test strips, and you can discretely view your results at any time.
Ordering and eating your meal
Once you have decided on a restaurant and tested your blood sugar, here are some tips for ordering your meal:
- Try to order dishes that are about the same serving size as you would eat at home. If the serving is larger than you are accustomed to, consider splitting the meal with someone else or putting a portion in a takeout container.
- If you are not familiar with the dish, ask the server about the ingredients or preparation method.
- Order dishes that have been cooked in no extra oil or butter.
- Avoid foods that have been breaded or fried, or that are described as smothered or covered.
- Scan the menu for alternatives and substitutions. For example, if the dish you want comes with mashed potatoes, but another comes with baked sweet potato, consider substituting the side on the dish you want for the other. Another option is to order extra vegetables or a salad.
- If you can’t get a substitution, ask if the food you don’t want can be removed from the plate.
- Order any sauces and dressings on the side.
- If ordering alcohol, request a diet mixer, or order an unmixed drink.
Keep in mind that many restaurants have started offering menu items for people with special needs. In many places you can find low-fat, low-carb, low-salt and even gluten-free options without too much fuss. However, these tips will come in handy if you find yourself in a place that doesn’t offer special menu items.
Article by Layla Davis