Tips for Restaurant Dining for the Diabetic

There are many different factors to take into consideration when planning a night out of dining at a restaurant. Though with a little bit of research, and following some simple tips, it needn’t be avoided completely.


For those who have insulin shots or take diabetes medications, it is important to consider when you will eat as well as what. If you are meeting others for dinner, it is a good idea to ask them to eat at your usual meal time so that it is less disruptive to your medication routines and regimes. If the restaurant you choose does not take reservations, try and avoid the busiest times so that you don’t have to wait too long. Take a few crackers with you to snack on, just in case.


If you are unable to eat dinner at your usual time, make sure you eat a fruit or starch serving at your usual time, and then eat your dinner later. If you are looking at ordering a ‘special’ dish, do not be afraid to ask the waiter/waitress if this dish will take extra time to prepare. Consider using a restaurant that has a wide variety of meal choices, and that doesn’t charge anything extra for food substitutions. Also ask if you can get sauces or dressings on the side, and if the meal can be prepared without the use of extra salt and butter.


If you are unsure what the ingredients are in a dish, be sure to ask. Try and eat the same size portion of your meal that you would eat at home – don’t be tempted to eat a larger portion just because it is there! Share it with a dining partner or take the rest home for later. With sauces and dressings, a good idea is to only add a teaspoon at a time to your food so that you do not overdo it. Make sure you don’t order anything that is crumbed or breaded or fried, as this increases the carbohydrates, fats and calories to the food.


If your meal comes with French fries, ask if they can be substituted with an extra serving of vegetables or salad. If the restaurant is unable or unwilling to substitute, ask that they not be served on your plate so you are not tempted to indulge.


Fast food meals are more complicated, as there are often less choices and a lot of the food is pre- prepared. Most fast food eateries will have nutrition information available if you ask, or alternatively, you could research the foods using the internet.  An average fast food meal can contain up to 1000 calories, which will cause your blood sugar to rise substantially, so if you are planning on having fast food for dinner, make sure the rest of your meals that day are healthier.


Don’t be tempted to upsize your meal – stick to the regular or small meal portion options. Keep your food items plain, you are better to add your own healthier toppings or sauces. However, thin crust pizza can be a good healthy option, but stick to the vegetarian option, and only 1-2 slices.


As for desserts, stick to sugar free and fat free frozen yogurt. Even better, if your meal has been high in carbs and fats, stick to fruit!


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