Eating Out if You Have Type II Diabetes

Dining out shouldn’t be stressful, but when you or a loved one has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, visiting a restaurant can suddenly seem very risky.

The temptation of the bread basket or the risk of waiting a ridiculously long time for your meal might be enough to keep you at home. Fortunately, with a little preparation, you can still dine at the latest hot spot while sticking to your meal plan. Read on for eight tips to help you navigate, and thoroughly enjoy, your next meal out.



1.-Analyze the restaurant


While reviewing a restaurant’s menu can certainly help you plan ahead, take your reconnaissance to the next level by checking your destination’s Instagram, Facebook and more. “I recommend my customers check the restaurant’s social media accounts beforehand,” says Lori Zanini, RD, a certified diabetes educator. “Pictures on social media will provide an excellent idea of how big the portion sizes are and which dishes look like the best option for them. And it allows them to plan ahead for portion control.



2.- Bring your own snacks


Sure, making a reservation is always a good idea when you’re trying to stick to a meal schedule, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be seated on time, or that your meal will be served soon. To avoid low blood sugar if a meal is delayed, Zanini recommends having a snack on hand. Try a quarter cup of almonds with two tablespoons of unsweetened dried fruit such as raisins. And, he adds, “If you’re taking short-acting insulin, don’t take insulin until your meal has arrived.



3.-Read between the lines


“‘Gratin’, ‘breaded’, ‘bisque’, ‘crispy’ and ‘seasoned’ could be clues that the dish will be higher in carbohydrates,” Zanini warns. Alternatively, she says, “Roasted, grilled and even fried or sautéed can be good options, as long as you ask about the base that was used to make it.” If you opt for something sautéed or fried, ask if the restaurant can prepare it using a vegetable oil.



4.-Check the sauces


The carbohydrate content of foods can vary widely, especially if there are sauces or additives,” says Catherine Metzgar, Ph.D., RD, of the Virta Health diabetes clinic in San Francisco. The reason? Sauces, even those that may seem innocuous like teriyaki or barbecue, are often loaded with sugar and other hidden carbohydrates like cornstarch or flour, Metzgar explains. So avoid the sauce or ask for it on the side so you can control the amount you consume.



5.-Opt for oil and vinegar


Starting your meal with a salad is a good idea: research has shown that you can reduce your total calorie intake at a meal by 11 percent. Just be careful with the dressing. “Salad dressings are another major culprit for added sugars and hidden carbs,” Metzgar says. The same goes for low-fat or fat-free versions, which often contain as much (if not more) added sugars to enhance the taste. Your safest bet? Oil and vinegar. Not only will you know exactly what’s in your dressing (just two tasty ingredients), research suggests that balsamic vinegar can help lower blood pressure and keep cholesterol in check.



6.-Don’t eat too much bread


You don’t have to omit the bread altogether. Ask for it to be served with the food and keep only one piece. “There is some research that shows the order in which we eat our foods, so trying to eat vegetables or protein or both before you get to the bread will benefit your blood sugar,” says Lori Zanini, RD.



7.-Opt for wine


Whether you’re going out to celebrate a special occasion or just catching up with old friends, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a little alcohol with your meal. Your best option? A glass of red wine. The results of a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggest that a glass of red wine at dinner may improve cardiovascular health in people with type 2 diabetes. So order the wine, just wait until your food arrives to do so. “It’s recommended to never drink on an empty stomach, so if you’re going to have a drink, make sure you eat first,” says Zanini.



8.-Save carbohydrates for dessert.


Do you have a sweet tooth? Try to avoid carbs at dinner so you can enjoy a small dessert. Skip the cakes and consider the chocolate ice cream. (Yes, really!) The University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center notes that a half scoop of chocolate ice cream contains about 140 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates. Compare that to the 500+ calories and 80+ grams of carbs in a piece of cake.