Eating a healthy diet on the go is a challenge for everyone, but for diabetics it can be especially trying. Even more so when your friends inadvertently sabotage your diet. It may seem to diabetics that eating at home is an easier option, that isn’t always possible. While many restaurants options are not great choices we are lucky to live in a time where they are offering more healthier choices, making it easier for diabetics and the health conscience to eat on the go while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
If you are prepared with the right knowledge, being diabetic does not have to confine you to brown bagging it when you go out with your friends. These tips can help you know what to look for and what to ask for when dining out!
It’s all about control: portion control that is! Avoid “supersized” or “go large”. This is a must, you CANNOT break this rule. With the average fast food meal containing over 1,000 calories it is better to choose smaller portions or split your meal with a friend. Always order regular or junior sized or just get a kid’s meal. This will help you stay on track.
Use caution at the pump. While we all love sauces and dips they can add unwanted calories, fats and carbs to your meal. Just say the words “hold the mayo” and you will save yourself significant calories and fat. Avoid words like creamy, Alfredo and au gratin. Salsa is packed with veggie goodness and is a great way to top a baked potato or chicken without the guilt.
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What’s on the side? Who doesn’t love fries? Did you know a 3.5 oz. serving of fries from a family-style restaurant has 37 g of carbohydrates, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA? When you eat fries, the starches in potatoes can cause a marked increase in your blood sugar, according to the Glycemic Index Foundation, which suggests that no more than half of your carbohydrate intake should come from high-GI foods. Oats, leafy green vegetables, legumes and most fruits have a low GI value and help regulate blood glucose levels. Opt for fresh fruit or side salad with olive oil and vinegar to stay on target.
Deli-icious! Sandwich shops win over burgers. Stick with lean meats or vegetable sandwiches and avoid sauces. Mustard is a great way to add flavor without guilt. Pizza ordered the right way is another great option. Choose thin crust with lots of veggies. Hold the extra cheese, sausage and peperoni which contain high fat content, calories and extra sodium.
Pick well my child. Read the menu and descriptions carefully. Words like deep-fried, pan fried, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, and crispy, usually mean high in fat, calories and sodium. Special order and ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be prepared without sauces or added sodium. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for salad or dressing on the side. Ask for fried foods to be steamed or broiled. Most restaurants are happy to help if you ask.