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4 Tips for Going Out to Dinner With Diabetes

November 14, 2023

Taking a night off from cooking, dressing up and going out to dinner should be a treat. But if you’re living with diabetes, it can feel like more stress than it’s worth.

Wondering how you can navigate a restaurant menu while managing diabetes? Here are the top four tips from an expert.

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1. It all starts with a good plan.

Does enjoying your time away from home feel impossible while managing your blood sugar levels?

According to Rosario Giacomini, DO, a family medicine doctor in Westport, planning in advance can keep your mind off diabetes at the dinner table. Here’s how to do it:

  • If you use insulin, consider adjusting your medication dosage accordingly.
  • Check the menu ahead of time so that you can better plan your carb intake for the day.
  • Avoid appetizers with bread, cured meats and heavy dressings.
  • Be cautious of condiments and sauces, which can be high in both carbs and fats.

> Related: This One Rule Will Help You Avoid the Worst Restaurant Foods for Your Health

2. And a healthy menu choice.

Scanning the menu – especially in advance, before you’re too hungry – can save you from some of the most common restaurant pitfalls.

Dr. Giacomini has these tips when you’re reviewing the menu:

  • Make sure you know how your food is prepared. Favor grilled, broiled or roasted foods over fried foods.
  • Stay away from fatty add-ons such as cheese or bacon.
  • Order salads with dressing on the side, and use in moderation throughout your meal.
  • Steer clear of options with heavy butter or cream sauces.
  • Don’t be afraid to make substitutions. Try swapping grilled vegetables for french fries, or vegetarian options for fatty proteins.
  • Avoid drinking your calories. Opt for water or a sugar-free alternative.

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3. Watch the portion sizes.

Eating out can often mean larger portion sizes than you might make at home – and larger portion sizes mean more butter and salt.

“In general, you want to try and limit your intake of excessive carbohydrates and salt. And that’s especially true when living with diabetes,” says Dr. Giacomini.

So next time you go out to eat, consider ordering a lunch portion, sharing with a friend or taking part of your meal to-go.

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4. And finally, enjoy your meal!

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy going out to dinner.

With a little planning and moderation, you can order a scrumptious dish without breaking your meal plan.