Who doesn’t enjoy going out to eat in restaurants once in a while? Whether you’re grabbing lunch on the go, enjoying a Friday night takeaway or celebrating a special occasion with your loved ones, eating out is fun, convenient and also a good change in the daily hum of life. With a chronic condition like diabetes, however, it can get a little stressful, as restaurants may not always serve food that complies with your diet. An appropriate diet plan is key in the management of diabetes and for a healthy life, but having diabetes shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the little pleasures of life! Here’s something that can make eating out hassle-free for people with diabetes— the perfect trifecta of nutrition, medication and monitoring!
You don’t need to compromise on your diabetic diet plan when you are eating out at restaurants. With the right kind of diabetes meal planning, eating out can potentially be stress-free. Knowing the components on your plate is key to striking the right balance.
Many restaurants offer a range of healthy options and most make their menus available online. Go through the restaurant’s menu ahead of time to ensure they serve food that you can eat without disrupting your prescribed diet. Another thing to check for is nutritional information. It is becoming increasingly common for restaurants to provide details of the nutritive value of the items they serve. Essentially, a good meal should consist of a fine balance of protein, carbs and fibre. Knowing the number of macronutrients you will be consuming will help you make an informed choice that is aligned with your diabetic diet plan. Make a table reservation beforehand and avoid visiting when the restaurant is busiest. If eating later than usual can’t be controlled, have a snack handy to prevent a drop in your blood sugar levels.
Divide and conquer
Stick to eating portions that are the same size as your meals at home, as opposed to the large portions that restaurants serve. Try out the ‘plate’ method- fill up half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein and the final quarter with starch. You could share meals with a dining partner to control the amount you eat. When ordering only for yourself, try and pick the smallest meal size. For example— a lunch-sized entrée, a salad or an appetizer. Pack up and take the leftovers home, to avoid wasting or overeating. Focus on your meal, make sure you eat slow, chew well and enjoy the food without the screen.
If the restaurant’s regular menu doesn’t include foods that are compliant with your meal plan, request for healthier substitutes— foods that are good for people with diabetes. Go for roasted, grilled or steamed food options instead of deep-fried. Swap your French fries with a diabetic-friendly side salad. Opt whole-grain instead of the refined flour varieties in pastas, or a thin-crust pizza with more veggies on it. Don’t hesitate to customize your order or include special instructions to the chef— it's just you staying committed to your treatment goals!
Whether you're eating at home or eating out, it is important to follow the nutrition guidelines established by your doctor or nutritionist.