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Dining Out Tips for Diabetics

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How to Choose the Best Foods

Those with diabetes need not sacrifice the pleasure of going out to eat. Knowing about the different food groups and which foods to avoid or limit will help you make the right choices when you dine out; paying attention to serving sizes will keep you from eating too much. Here are some tips to help you choose the best foods:

  • Before you order something, ask the server how it is prepared. Is it fried, baked, or grilled? If the normal method isn’t a healthy choice for you, can it be cooked another way? Is it served in a heavy sauce — and, if so, can you omit the sauce or serve it on the side?

  • Choose fish, lean meat, or skinless chicken that is broiled, poached, baked, or grilled.

  • Order salads and steamed vegetables to accompany your meal. Request low-fat dressings and sauces, and ask to have them served on the side so you can control the amount you get.

  • Ask the server to suggest low-fat dishes. Restaurants nowadays encounter people on special diets all the time and will usually accommodate their customers.

  • If you take insulin and know that your meal will be delayed, be sure to time your injection accordingly. You can eat a roll or piece of fruit to tide you over and prevent hypoglycemia.

  • If everyone around you is ordering dessert and you crave it, ask to share with someone. Even a couple of bites of a dessert can satisfy your craving.


Shun Super-Sizing

Restaurant portions are often much larger than what most of us need to eat or should eat. When the portions are huge, it’s tempting to eat more than the amount that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you avoid eating too much: 

  • Ask your server about the size of an item. Is it big enough for two? Can you get a half order?

  • Before you order, ask to see what a small, medium, or large size looks like.

  • Choose smaller portions if they are offered — or order from the appetizer menu, where servings are usually smaller.

  • Choose half a sandwich and half a salad.

  • Avoid buffets and “all you can eat” dishes.

  • If you are served more than your meal plan allows, take the rest home for another time. If you tend to clean your plate, ask for a take-home box at the beginning of the meal and put the excess food in the box before you start eating.

  • Ask the waiter to not serve bread.

Next: Tips for Eating Out in Different Types of Restaurants >>

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