Let’s face it, diabetes can be a challenge as it is, but then take into account eating out with diabetes and things can really get tricky.
But although it can be a little difficult when you don’t prepare you meals, it is in no way impossible. And in this short guide, I’m going to share with you some simple tricks and tips to help make dining out a snap.
1) Plan Ahead
Schedule when you will take your medications or injectables. This really helps to take the pressure off. Set an alarm if you need to.
2) Stay Consistent
Schedule times for meals while dining out around the same times as your normal meals so you keep everything consistent.
3) Call Ahead
Call ahead on go online to see when the restaurants are the busiest to avoid long waits which can present challenges if you are trying to time your medicines around your meals or stay on schedule.
4) Arrive On Time
It’s not a bad idea to let the restaurant staff know that you require special accommodations around your medications. If you feel comfortable telling them you have diabetes you can do that too.
5) Ask About Prep Time
Ask how long the dish usually that you wish to order usually takes to order.
6) Eat Before If Necessary
If you will be eating later than usual, consider having a carbohydrate serving such as fruit or starch at your usual time.
7) Choose Carefully
When selecting from the menu, think how the food that you order will fit into your meal plan.
8) Know How Food Is Prepared
If you don’t know how the food is prepared ask your server
9) Ask About Hidden Carbs
If you’re carb counting, ask about the carb content in hidden carbs like flour, cornstarch, sauces or soups.
10) Easy On The Salt
If you’re on a low sodium diet, ask for your meal without salt added.
11) Gravy and Dressing On The Side
Ask for your gravy, salad dressing, and sauces to be served on the side so that you can control how much is used.
12) Ask For Broiled
If you’re ordering meat or fish, ask that it be broiled with no extra butter.
If your meal comes with something that is outside of your mealplan substitute something like a vegetable instead. i.e. Broccoli for mashed potato.
Consider ordering one meal and sharing it with the person you’re dining with to reduce the portion size.
15) Normal Portions
Try to stick to the same size portion that you normally would and don’t let the large portion tempt you.
16) Take It To Go
Before you start eating get ask for a to-go container and put food in there to take home with you.
17) Slow Down
Eat slowly and really enjoy your meal. This has been shown to be better for your blood sugar levels than eating very quickly.
18) Estimate Your Foods
Since you don’t know for sure you can estimate portion sizes. Here’s a handy portion estimate cheat sheet.
- A serving of meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards (3 ounces for women and 5 ounces for men)
- A serving of cheese is about 1 ounce – about the size of your thumb.
- 1 teaspoon is the tip of your thumb
- 1 tablespoon is the entire thumb
- A serving of milk, yogurt, or fresh vegetables is 1 cup – about the size of a tennis ball
- A small adult fist = 1 cup
- 2 table spoons of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball
- ½ of a medium bagel is the size of a hockey puck
- Small potato is the size of a computer mouse
- ½ cup of vegetables is the size of a light bulb
- A medium-size piece of fruit is the size of a tennis ball
Eating out doesn’t have to be a nightmare when you’re armed with some simple tactics to make sure your blood sugar stays at bay. By simply having a plan you’re ahead of the game. You’d be surprised the cumulative effect of applying techniques like this for controlling your blood sugar.
Not only does it allow you to eat out and enjoy yourself. But I allows you to continue to live healthier in the process because it is more of a challenge when you don’t know exactly what is going into the food that you’re eating.