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Dining Out For Diabetics: Tips For Healthy Meals

W.L. Meyers | August 28th, 2012

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For people with diabetes, one of the best ways to ensure that every meal is a healthy one is to cook at home with fresh ingredients. However, people on a diabetes diet plan should not fear that the occasional night out at a restaurant will jeopardize their goal of managing and even reversing their type 2 diabetes through proper diet and exercise.

Whether eating in or dining out, the challenge for people with diabetes is to eat a healthy meal that balances the primary food elements — proteins, fats, and carbohydrates — to ensure that blood sugar levels do not suffer drastic spikes and drops. They also want to favor low-starch, low-sugar foods to help them not only achieve healthy weight loss and lower cholesterol, but also lower glucose levels to the point where insulin or other medications are no longer required.

According to Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer at The Center For Medical Weight Loss, “Anyone on a diabetic diet plan can survive a restaurant, even if the food is delicious, and not stray from the diet if they follow a few rules…”

Diabetic diet ideas for dining out

Dine on Time: Diabetics should always stick to a normal dining schedule to avoid drastic changes in blood sugar levels. Make sure to fit your restaurant meal into your daily eating schedule.

Skip the Appetizers:  In many restaurants, bread and appetizers are the most carbohydrate-filled elements of the meal. Carbs raise the level of insulin in the body, which can lead to major glucose fluctuations. You can also avoid carbs by abstaining from hamburger buns, or sandwich bread. If you do eat bread, choose whole grain over white.

Portion Control:  Sticking to smaller portions is a great way to keep blood sugar levels steady. For many people, it is typical to try to eat everything on the plate, rather than stopping at exactly how much you need or want. Curb this impulse by asking for a take-out box at the beginning of your meal, halfing your portion, and saving the extra for another meal.

Order Leafy Greens: While the main dishes can be tempting, at many restaurants, a salad can be just as delicious. Salads with high-fiber fruits and vegetables and nuts rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats are especially good choices.

Substitute Side Dishes: Ask to replace carbohydrate-filled sides like French fries and mashed potatoes with healthier options, such as steamed broccoli or carrots.

Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol, which is broken down in the body in much the way that fat is, can add unwanted calories into your meal plan. If you decide to indulge in a boozy beverage, choose a light beer or wine to help limit your caloric intake.

Ditch Dessert: Your hard work could all be in vain if you order even a small dessert, which may itself exceed 1,000 calories and be loaded with sugar and fat. Instead, order a fruit plate for essential fiber and nutrients and a kick of sweetness.

Diabetes diet plan: best supervised by a physician

The expert physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss will work with you to develop diabetic diet guidelines to suit your unique individual needs. The team of specialists have helped produced thousands of weight loss success stories involving diabetes patients who have reduced and in many cases completely reversed their condition through a supervised plan of diet and exercise. Many were able to stop taking their diabates medication or insulin shots.

To see if any the center’s 450 locations are near you, use the zip code search box to the right. Introductory offers are available to first-time visitors at select centers.