Who doesn’t enjoy going out occasionally for a meal with friends or family? Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to stay at home for every meal. Here are some simple guidelines to follow so you can enjoy dining out and still manage your blood sugar and stay healthy.
#1 Plan ahead! Once you know what restaurant you’re going to, check out the menu online so you’ll be able to choose wisely when you arrive. Being prepared is the best way to avoid stress or making poor decisions.
#2 Test! Know what your blood sugar is before you head out, just as you would do at home.
#3 Ask questions! Don’t hesitate to ask questions about how the food is prepared, or if you can modify an entrée. Most restaurants are very accommodating of special requests and substitutions.
#4 Choose wisely! You may have to decide what is most important to you – bread, a starchy vegetable with your meal, a cocktail or dessert, but the choice is yours. You don’t have to feel deprived—you can have your favorite foods by making the choices about what matters most to you and choosing your carbohydrates accordingly.
#5 Portion size counts! The typical restaurant entrée size is double what anyone needs to eat. Ask for a “to go” box when your food arrives and put half aside for another meal. The bonus is that your meal is half price!
#6 Enjoy! The point of going out to eat with friends is to enjoy the food and company, so savor your meal choices and don’t stress. Just count your carbohydrates as usual and be sure to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re having an alcoholic beverage.
#7 Dessert? Of course! If you’ve done your planning, and dessert is a part of the evening, go for it! As always, keep your portion small, or choose something with fruit if you’ve already had the majority of your carbohydrates earlier in the meal.
Whether you’re eating out for pleasure or it’s a part of your work week, the important thing is to plan ahead, be prepared and make food choices that work for your type 2 diabetes meal plan. If you follow the simple guidelines above, you’ll be able to enjoy dining out without stress or guilt. Other great information about making healthy choices while eating out can be found at the Mayo Clinic, Everyday Health or Diabetes What to Know.
And don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up occasionally… as you go forward you’ll learn how to make good choices that make dining out the treat it should be. Bon appétit!