• Tips for Managing Diabetes When Eating Out

    on Apr 30th, 2018

Sticking to a diabetes-friendly meal plan is one of the most important components of managing your blood sugar and staving off nerve damage and other serious complications. However, living well with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to pass up invitations to dine out. Just keep in mind that the choices you make at restaurants matter.

If you’ve recently received a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis or are new to diabetes meal planning, arming yourself with tools and strategies for when you eat away from home helps keep you on track. Check out our top tips for eating out with diabetes.

Be a meal detective

When you prepare food at home, you have control of the ingredients and know exactly what goes into your meals. You don’t know the exact ingredients when you dine out, unless you ask. It’s crucial to inquire about added ingredients, even if a meal seems rather plain. That baked chicken breast with broccoli that you see on the menu may have been marinated in a sugary sauce, for all you know.

Scrutinize meals on the menu and ask your server questions about the ingredients to be sure that the meal fits your diabetes plan. If you’re unsure of what to choose, ask your server to make a few diabetes-friendly recommendations.

Go green and plain

Leafy greens and other green vegetables are naturally low in carbohydrates and high in nutrition. Scour menus for plant-based options to incorporate into your meal. Not all vegetable dishes are created equal though. Steer clear of vegetables soaked in creamy sauces, and instead sniff out veggies prepared in a healthier manner. Steamed or grilled vegetables are some of the best options.

Choose naked protein

Dishes with fancy names may sound delicious, but they typically contain a wide variety of fat-laden or sugary ingredients which may not jive with your diabetes meal plan goals. Skim the menu when you dine out and look for protein dishes that sound simple, such as baked chicken breast, broiled salmon, or grilled cod.

These options are typically flavored with herbs and spices and commonly referred to as “naked.” If you have trouble finding plain protein, don’t be afraid to ask that your protein be prepared naked, as most restaurants are more than willing to accommodate such a request.

Pay attention to portions

It’s not just what’s in your meal that affects your blood sugar, it’s also the size of the meal. Restaurants are notorious for serving meals that contain several servings on one plate. Before your meal even arrives, request an extra plate or a to-go box. Eye the portion size when your meal arrives and immediately adjust the meal to the appropriate portion size and place the rest in your to-go box.

This may mean cutting your protein in half if it’s much larger than the size of your fist. Once you pack away the excess calories, you can enjoy your meal knowing that you’re staying within your diabetes meal plan.

Watch what you drink

Beverages at restaurants are often loaded with sugar. It’s best to avoid using your carb allotment on sugary beverages like soda and wine. Request herbal tea with a packet of stevia or have water and ask for a lemon or lime wedge to give it a little bit of a refreshing flavor. If you do choose to have a glass of wine, ensure you’ve adjusted your meals for the day so that you have enough of a carb allotment left to have a glass of wine.

Opt for an extra-dry wine like cabernet sauvignon or pinot grigio, as they’re very low in sugar. Drinking wine on an empty stomach can cause your blood sugar to rise dramatically, so wait for your meal to arrive before enjoying a glass.

Your health is our number one priority at Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice. Our providers can guide you through diabetes meal planning and help you live well with diabetes. For effective diabetes management call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.

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