Eating out at a restaurant

If you have an eating plan for your diabetes this does not mean that you cannot go out to eat. Your meal at a restaurant can be part of your eating plan if you are well aware of what you need. Here you find some suggestions about how to ease the process of going to a restaurant and to stay committed to your eating plan:

Research restaurant menus

When available online check a restaurant’s menu, and ethe nutrition facts if available.

Keep portion sizes in check

Generally speaking you should eat moderately. So try to avoid big portions:Choose the smallest meal size if the restaurant offers options, for example a lunch-sized entree. Share meals with a dining partner. Request a take-home container

Consider avoiding “all you can eat” buffets. They make it difficult to resist and moderate your meal.

Make substitutions

Don’t settle for what comes with your sandwich or meal but customize it according to your needs. For example avoid French fries in favor of grilled vegetables. Do not be afraid to ask.

Watch the extras

Keep in mind that extras, bacon bits, croutons and fried chips, can sabotage diabetes nutrition goals by quickly increasing a meal’s calorie and carbohydrate count.

Even healthier additions — including fat-free salad dressing, barbecue sauce and fat-free mayonnaise — have calories. But you can enjoy small servings of these without adjusting your meal plan. Ask for them on the side to further control how much of them you eat.

Speak with the chef

Food preparation is also something to consider. Avoid breaded and fried food. Instead request that your food be:

  • Broiled
  • Roasted
  • Grilled

Don’t feel like you’re stepping out of line if you request healthier options or substitutions. You’re simply doing what it takes to stay committed to your meal plan.

Watch what you drink

Remember that calories come from drinks as well. So avoid high-calorie drinks. Instead of soda try following: diet soda, water, unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water or mineral water. Remember also that alcohol may be highly problematic. If your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine. But alcohol is rich in empty calories and can lead to diabetes complications. When choosing alcohol, choose options with fewer calories and carbohydrates such as:

  • Light beer
  • Dry wines

Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day if you’re a man and one drink a day if you’re a woman.

Eat on time

Your meal schedule is important to maintain steady blood sugar levels — especially if you are taking medications or insulin.

If you’re eating out with others, follow these tips: Schedule the gathering at your usual mealtime.To avoid waiting for a table, make a reservation or try to avoid times when the restaurant is busiest.If you can’t avoid eating later than usual, snack on a fruit or starch serving at your usual mealtime.

Save room for dessert

Remember that dessert isn’t necessarily off-limits. Sweets count as carbohydrates in your meal plan. If you’d like dessert, compensate by reducing the amount of other carbohydrates — such as bread, tortillas, rice, milk or potatoes — in your meal.

Remember the ground rules

Whether you’re eating at home or eating out, remember the principles of diabetes nutrition. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Limit the amount of fat and salt in your diet. Keep portion sizes in check. And above all, follow the nutrition guidelines established by your doctor or registered dietitian.