Eating out has become a regular part of our lives, whether it’s a fast-food treat with the kids, lunch date with your spouse or a business meeting over dinner. One simple reason why people love eating out is because it’s their go-to option when everyone else is just exhausted to cook or prepare food at home. Eating out is easy, fast and fun! But for family members with diabetes, the big question is that “is it healthy?”.
If you have a family member or you yourself is a diabetic, it is sometimes hard to eat out because you need to carefully choose which restaurant to go to and which food to order. If you are diabetic and eating out, you don’t get to choose which food you want to eat, but rather the food that is okay to eat.
So, if you want to learn more about how you can eat out with ease, read on.
- Binge On Lavish Restaurants
Expensive restaurants, based on most people’s experiences, have the most delicious meals on their menu but served on a relatively small portion. These pricey foods, however, are of top quality which also features fresh, local, in-season ingredients.
People with diabetes can choose meals that are not only delicious but also cater to their special needs. Some upscale restaurants offer “low-calorie” meals on their menu. Some are labelled as “special diet”, which are intended for customers who need special attention to their food intake.
If you are not sure enough of the ingredients in the food you want to order, maybe you can instruct the waiter for some little adjustments in the ingredients, say perhaps the amount of sugar, salt, and the like. Although it’s not really something that is normal for the cook or the chef to do, they can totally understand your situation because as the cliché says “customers are always right”. You are paying for the food anyway, and not to mention the pricey meals on the menu.
- Dine Out With Health Enthusiasts
Psychologically speaking, if you surround yourself with positive people, there will be no room for any negativity, and vice versa. Thus, if you are diabetic, it is also good for you to be with people who are health conscious, or better yet, be with a community of diabetic individuals. You would be surprised of how many people are in your local diabetes community. Join a group or two, they are good sources of support.
According to research, restaurant diners have the tendency to imitate other people around them, say for example the dishes to order. Some people, especially those that are first-timers in a restaurant, just copy what the next table ordered. Eating out with health conscious individuals can make it easier for you to choose which foods to eat because you would not feel different. Maybe you could agree on a few dishes and share them together, that’s more enjoyable.
- Munch On Some Healthy Snacks At Home An Hour Before Eating Out
One thing that you are probably trying to avoid is eating more that the desired amount of food when dining out. There is a little chance that you will not be able to take full control of the amount of food you eat so you might end up eating everything that is served.
It is a good idea to munch on some healthy snacks before heading out to your usual dine-out habit. These healthy snacks include fruits, celery, carrots or some low-fat cheese. By doing so, you will keep yourself from wolfing down complimentary tortilla chips or bread while waiting for your order to be served.
Research suggests that when people are hungry, they tend to choose unhealthy food in big portions. When you eat even just a small portion of healthy snacks before dining out, you will not feel that hungry. Thus, you would avoid unhealthy choices of food.
- Try Wearing Those Long-Kept Tight Jeans Or Those Fitted Blouses
One common side effect that diabetics experience is weight gain. Most people believe that it is caused by insulin treatments. If you have indeed gained weight, you have probably decided to keep those jeans or your favourite fancy blouse because they no longer fit that well. Why not go ahead and wear those long-kept clothes and be inspired to lose weight so they would fit perfectly again?
Fast-food restaurants are where the most not-so-delicious foods are served. Reason is, most of these are preserved in a way that it would last up to a month in the fridge for easy storage. So, if you have plans on eating out with your family or friends try wearing those jeans or blouse one time to keep yourself from eating voraciously and taking a chance to ruin your favourite clothes. Those tight fitting jeans will keep you from eating too much so you that you don’t end up feeling uncomfortable. It may sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s effective in a way.
- Take A Mini Tour Around The Resto Before Ordering
When everybody is seated on the table, try to escape for a minute or two. Excuse yourself for a trip to the restroom. On your way, take a simple glance at other dining tables and check food portions, sizes of plates or heavy sauces. This way, you will have a better idea of what and what not to order.
This is one great tip especially when it is your first time to dine in a particular restaurant. And because it is your first time, you don’t have any idea about the most important factors to lookout for: serving sizes, heavy sauces, plate sizes and the like. For a diabetic, these factors are very important because even just a small excess of unwanted food in their system may be dangerous.
Another great tip before going to an unfamiliar restaurant is to search for their menu online. Just take a minute to sneak at what they got; so that once you are already there it will not take you ages to pick out the dish that is right for your special diet.
- Drink Water Or Calorie-Free Tea With Your Meal
When eating out, you might be attracted to some deliciously-sounded beverages in the menu. Iced-tea, sodas, milkshakes, and fruit juices are big no-no’s if you are diabetic. The thing about having diabetes is that we are trying to cut some calorie intake. Those beverages mentioned contain high amount of calories.
Order a glass of service water with your meal. You don’t only get to avoid unwanted calories, you also save some bucks. This is the safest drink that you could get.
If you are already tired of drinking only water, don’t you worry because you have a lot of options. You can order unsweetened teas, hot or cold – may be green, black or herbal. You can also order sparkling water if available. Or, just to be ready and sure, make your own infused water at home and bring some in your water bottle when eating out. To make infused water, simply put some slices of cucumber, mint, lemon or strawberries in your water and let the flavours infuse with the water for a refreshing low-calorie drink.
- Order Wisely
Start your meal with a fresh salad or clear soup. Either of which is likely to have at least 2 servings of fresh fruits and fiber. The salad or the soup would make you full enough to take the edge off your hunger.
When it comes to the main course, choose meat cuts that are grilled, broiled or baked. With vegetables, choose steamed, not sautéed. You can also make a special request to serve sauces and gravies in a different saucer, not poured on top of the dish. Also, avoid dishes described as “cheesy, crispy or hand-battered.”
For your dessert, try ordering a single serving of dessert on the table. Ask your waiter for some extra dessert spoons and fork and share the dessert together. This will save you from taking in too much carbs and calories. Or better yet, suggest a quick stroll at mall and look for a kiosk that sells frozen yogurt and have some light walking exercise on the way.
- Check Your Blood Sugar An Hour Or Two after Dining Out
One of the many questions that people with diabetic often ask is that if they should test their blood sugar an hour or two after a meal. The answer is probably yes, especially when eating out, where you have no control of the amount of sugar or carbohydrate you take in.
The reason why blood testing should be done an hour or two after dining out is to know how high the blood sugar goes in response to a specific meal. This way, you would know if you should or should not order the same food the next time you dine in that particular restaurant.
According to experts, the best time to capture the peak level of your blood glucose is one to two hours after you start eating. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is recommended to have a target of below 180 mg/dl two hours after your meal.
- Never Starve Yourself Just So You Could Eat Big During That Dinner Out
This is pretty much self explanatory. This tip is not only for diabetics, but also applies for each and every individual. Some people tend to starve themselves to save up that space on their tummy for a much larger meal. They would not eat lunch, for example, so they could eat a large portion of food on the next meal. Make sure you are not doing this. First off, starving yourself is not healthy at all. You may even develop ulcer.
If you are diabetic, you should always watch out for the food portions you take every meal. Anything extra is always harmful. If you have a scheduled dinner out with friends or family, don’t starve yourself just so you could eat more later. Instead, do the opposite: eat small portions of fruits as snack before heading out to the restaurant. This will keep you from eating too much which prevents the sudden rise in your insulin levels.
- Lastly, Pay Attention To Your Body
This is by far the most important tip of all. This is the hard part when eating out, because it could be so much fun to dine out with your family or friends that you tend to forget to pay attention to your body.
One of the common mistakes that newly diagnosed individuals make is that they don’t pay attention that much to their body until such time that they realize its importance. They are still new to the routine so there is a big chance that they often neglect their responsibilities. There is nobody else responsible for their body but themselves.
One simple trick to get yourself to pay attention to your body is to take a break in between meals. Spend five minutes to relax or have some conversation with your friends or family. And then, assess yourself if you have had enough, or if you are still hungry for more.