Tips For Eating Out With Diabetes
While most people with diabetes understand the importance of eating food prepared at home where you can control the portions and amount of sugar used, it’s not practical or enjoyable to only eat at home for most people. By following a little bit of advice, one can eat out and still be diabetes friendly.
Look up the menu before you go.
- Go prepared and decide what meal will best suit your needs before getting to the restaurant, many restaurants have their menus available online.
- Large chain restaurants are required to include calorie content, and will also have information available about specific nutrition facts either in the restaurant on online.
If researching your meal before you arrive at the restaurant doesn’t sound like your style, here are some tips:
- Aim for a meal that will be mostly non-starchy vegetables with no sauce or with a clear sauce (like a vinaigrette) and is ¼ protein, ¼ grains
- If you can’t find a meal that will suit the above requirements, ask if you can make meal substitutions (Instead of fries try a salad, apple slices or carrots, or sub steamed veggies for rice or potatoes). If that still doesn’t work, when your meal arrives, try to aim for not eating more than your recommended amount of carbohydrates.
- Ask for a box with your meal in case it’s very large and put some food in it before you eat so that you won’t be tempted to eat too much.
- If you know you will be eating out for a specific meal, try to plan ahead and eat a well-balanced diet throughout the rest of the day.
- Only eat half of your bun if you are getting a burger or sandwich, you could save 100 calories or more, try a lettuce wrap or lettuce on one side.
- Read Meal Planning: The Plate Method to learn about balancing your plate with healthy options.
- Save calories and carbs by not getting mayonnaise, sauces or cheese on your sandwiches.
- Watch out for salads. Green salads with lots of toppings can have more calories and carbs than other meal choices. Limit the amount of toppings or dressings. Ask for dressing on the side or use oil and vinegar.
- Avoid potato salad or macaroni salads as they are often loaded with mayonnaise and carbs.
- Order thin crust pizza
- Several websites or fitness apps contain information on meals at common chain restaurants. See the AFM handout on apps, or try calorieking.com or myfitnesspal.com
If you take insulin, try to eat or make a reservation at a time that’s reasonable, be wary of long wait times.