a woman looking at restaurant menus online

Dining Out With Diabetes: My Game Plan

Who doesn't enjoy dining out at your favorite spot? I love eating out. My husband and I eat out at least 3 times a week. It seems like the best thing, right? After a hectic workday, having someone serve you a nice meal and saving you from cooking is such a treat.

But when you have type 2 diabetes, dining out can be very tricky. Dining out can be a big red alert, especially when the restaurant's options and managing your blood sugar levels don't go hand in hand.

Preparation is key

So, I have learned to plan before going out, especially when dining out with friends. I must plan this outing. Before stepping out, I must check my blood sugar levels. When I check my blood sugar before the meal, I will know where I stand and how much to eat during the meal. It gives me enough space to know when to stop.

Suggest the restaurant

I like to choose the restaurant. It gives me an edge to select a place with some diabetes-friendly options. Good idea, right?

I choose the restaurant by scanning their menu online beforehand to save time at the table. Certain things I look for on the menu are dishes with lower calories or carbohydrate counts and foods that can satisfy my cravings.

The menu can be a challenge

The problem here is that it's not always as easy as it sounds. You sometimes have to put on your thinking cap. I feel like that brainy character in shows who plays with formulas. Never mind, health should be our priority, my friends. So, I put that extra effort into choosing a place with nice healthy menu options.

Figure out what works for you

Once I'm at the restaurant, I usually order an appetizer and soup. This, my friends, help me fill my belly. I typically start with some sort of vegetable soup with extra scallions (I love them) and a fresh green salad.

Then, I'm ready to move to my main meal. I prefer ordering chicken, steak, or fish. I wonder how different places cook my favorite meal, and every time it tastes different. My favorite is to order a grilled steak with extra roasted or baked vegetables. Green vegetables and meat help my sugar levels stay in the safe zone.

Watch those beverages

I usually order water with muddled lemon and mint for a beverage - it is so refreshing! The lemon and mint also help aid in digestion.

I don't drink sugary beverages with sweeteners because that throws off a carefully curated meal. So, soda is a big "NO" for me. At a point, I used to be a frequent soda drinker. I have been drinking soda my whole life, but not anymore. It makes diabetes management harder for me.

Learn over time

I might sound like a professional meal manager, but that is not the case. Through so many trials and errors, I learned the food choices that are delicious and diabetes-friendly for me.

I often struggled with my food cravings and extravagant meals while dining out and dealing with blood sugar spikes. But the lesson I have learned over the years is that I had to start curating my dine-out meals to my needs, which turned out to be helpful.

Not only do I feel better, but my glucose numbers are also good. I lost 40 pounds a few years ago and have maintained my weight. Now that I have carefully curated my meal choices, I am ready to go and slay my meal!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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