You can still stay on track with your eating goals, whether you’re out on the town at one of your favorite restaurants or enjoying yourself at social events. Here are strategies to help you make the best choice in both of these settings while trying to manage your blood sugar.
Tips to Eat Well at Restaurants
It may be challenging for you to ask the wait staff questions or ask for what you need. It’s helpful to establish a little rapport, and remember, they are there to serve you. So many people with dietary restrictions have already asked them, so they should be used to it.
To find out if an item is healthy, ask:
- Would you tell me how is this made?
- What ingredients are in this?
- What kind of oil is this cooked in?
To make a healthy swap, ask:
- Can I have this baked/steamed/broiled/grilled instead of fried?
- Can I have extra veggies on my sandwich instead of cheese?
- Can I have the dressing/sauce/gravy/sour cream/butter on the side? Then you control how much you get. There’s nothing worse than getting a salad drowning in dressing!
- Can I have a baked potato instead of fries?
- Can I have a salad instead of coleslaw?
- Can this be cooked in vegetable oil instead of lard or butter?
- Can I have some fruit instead of dessert? Or, can we get 2 spoons for the dessert as we’d like to share.
- Can the fat be trimmed from the meat before it’s cooked?
- Can the skin be removed from the chicken before it’s cooked?
- Can I have skim milk with my coffee instead of half-and-half?
- Can I have water with lemon instead of soda?
To make sure you get a healthy amount, ask:
- Can I get the smallest size of this item?
- Can I have an appetizer instead of a main course?
- Can my friend and I share this item?
- Can I get a to-go box when you bring my meal? (Then you can box up half of it before you even start eating, and bingo – lunch for tomorrow!)
Eat Well at Social Events
This involves a little preplanning and mindfulness.One tip is to consider having a healthy snack at home before social events. This will help you make healthy choices once you’re there. I know, I know, you want to have fun, but the point here is not to go starving.
Do your best to not to feel obligated to eat everything put in front of you. Oftentimes food is a sign of affection and connection for many cultures, and certainly within families, so turning it down isn’t always so easy.
Who you tell about your efforts to prevent or manage type 2 is your call. If you’re close to the hosts or other guests, you could tell them about your eating plan and ask them to support your efforts. But maybe you want to be private. Because once you mention something, everybody has an opinion about what’s on your plate! So, you could say you’re watching your figure, or a simple thank you but you’re not that hungry –and if they insist, you could ask for a plate to go, and then you can do what you want with it.
Here are 7 other ideas:
- Ask if you can bring something healthy, and eat the healthy dish you brought.
- Practice saying, “No, thank you.”
- Allow yourself a small treat.
- Ask about ingredients and how dishes were prepared.
- Fill up on non-starchy veggies or a broth-based soup.
- Keep a glass of water in your hand, and limit alcohol.
- Stay away from the buffet after you get your first plate.Which one of these approaches will you try? Or which other approaches are you willing to share? Let us know!
Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE is an international award-winning diabetes educator and registered nurse. She thrives by finding ways to help people live well with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and believes that key components of that are support and education. That’s why she started SweetPeopleClub.com, a like-minded community who work together to be the healthiest possible, and is the creator of the Prevent, Delay and Manage Type 2 Diabetes course which makes education accessible at a time that’s convenient for you, engaging and fun, and includes real-time attention with a dietitian twice a month.