18 Tips for Healthy Dining Out For Someone With Type 2 Diabetes
You are excited…it has been far too long since you have enjoyed an evening out. The babysitter has arrived and you are already feeling the stress melting away as you put your cares from the past week to bed and head out on the town.
Everyone enjoys a night out from time to time. A great meal cooked by someone else, and better yet, cleaned up by someone else. There is just something special about being waited on from time to time.
However, far too often we let ourselves become preoccupied with thoughts of veering off our healthy diet or worry about not having the right foods to choose from. Good news, both pre-diabetics, and diabetics can enjoy a fabulous meal and all of the fun that comes along with a fun night out without any regret.
Good news, whether you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you can enjoy a fabulous meal and all the fun that comes along with a night out without any regret.
Eat as close to your usual time as possible.
If you take medication or insulin to help control your diabetes, it is vital that you eat at a time very close to your usual time at home. In order to accomplish this, avoid dining in a location where you know there will be a long wait. Better yet, choose places that accept reservations. Always pack a “just in case” snack in your bag such as a piece of fruit. If being served takes longer than expected, then eat your snack to tide you over.
Do your research.
Before choosing a place to eat, drop by and take a peek at the menu. Many places also offer their menu online so you can check meals before making a reservation. Be sure the restaurant you chose has meals that are on par with your diabetes meal plan.
Once you arrive at the restaurant, don’t be shy to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable about what you will be eating. If something doesn’t seem just right, ask about substitutions. You will find that more often than not, restaurants are willing to make substitutions for health concerns.
Keep your sugar radar on
Although avoiding added sugar is more difficult when you are not preparing your own meals, it isn’t impossible. As you may know, sugar lurks in some very strange places such as sauces, dips and dressings. The best option is to ask for all sauces and dressings to be on the side. A safe bet for salad is always oil and vinegar. Of course, it is always wise to steer clear of beverages other than water. If you are looking for something a little more exciting, add lemon to some seltzer water or enjoy a cup of cold-brewed herbal tea.
Be cognizant of carbs
Too many carbs at one time can spell disaster, as they will send your blood sugar to the moon. Always choose low-carb foods such as whole grains and vegetables and if possible pass on the buns or anything overly processed. Remember, the more fiber the better!
Have a healthy fear of fried food
Just like processed food and high carb foods, fried foods are a danger to anyone, especially people who struggle with blood sugar issues. Don’t be afraid to ask to have a certain dish cooked in a way that does not defy your dietary rules. The best, of course, is steamed, broiled, baked and sautéed.
Skip the chips
Depending on where you go, you may have a basket of chips, bread or some other “free” appetizer on your table. If you can help it, it is best to avoid the temptation to fill up on these pre-dinner snacks.
Eat your food naked if possible
It is always best to undress your food so that you can enjoy its natural goodness without it being drenched in sauces, breading, marinades etc. To add flavor ask for extra spices or use healthy options like fresh salsa, lemons or limes.
Don’t go Texas style
Your mantra should never be “go big or go home.” This is a recipe for disaster. American portions, by in large, are really too big for anyone. We have become a supersize nation and it seems as though the majority of people have stretched to accommodate this. Compared to almost every other country, our portion sizes are huge, enough for two or even three persons. If you go out, ask to split a meal with a friend or take a box home.
More healthy tips for dining out
- Eat at restaurants that use local food.
- Don’t skimp on your meal price – lower priced food may be more heavily processed.
- Drink plenty of water before you go out to eat. You will generally eat less if you are well hydrated.
- Avoid fast food at all costs.
- Remember to enjoy your meal – eat slowly, never rush through your dinner. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to register to your stomach that it is full.
- Avoid foods with the following words in the name: creamy, fried, sauce, crispy or stuffed.
- Don’t stress if you make a poor food choice by mistake.
- Skip the dessert.
Start a dinner club
If you love to get together with friends for a night of fun and sharing a meal consider starting a dinner club. You can enjoy taking turns hosting dinner. If everyone in the club is aware of your dietary restrictions you will probably enjoy a healthier meal than you would if you dined out. Remember, there are so many options for healthy and delicious main dishes and even sweet treats. Your friends will ask for seconds!
Most importantly don’t avoid going out and having a good time for fear of upsetting your diet plan. You may have to do a little upfront planning. but don’t let that get in the way of having an amazing night out on the town. Remember, no regrets.
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