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Restaurant Dining- Attack of the Carbohydrates

Most restaurants have enough nutrition information available on their website to make planning a diabetes-friendly meal relatively simple. For some meals you have to consider which side dishes to order or which a la carte items you will select as toppings or salad fixings before you tally the carbohydrate total, but all in all you can take your seat with confidence. Then, three completely predictable things happen.

1. Your server delivers a basket of carbohydrates (bread, tortilla chips, etc.) before you can blink
2. You’re asked if you would care for a drink
3. A fellow diner orders an appetizer (or three) “to share”

This can sabotage your meal planning several different ways. First, a basket of bread or chips sitting right under your nose is difficult to resist – it’s biological. Second, people often don’t remember to calculate the carbohydrates they drink – that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Third, the appetizers become a group decision, and if the group is leaning strongly toward carbohydrates you’ll have even more temptations right under your nose before you even place your order.

In addition to overturning your meal plan, the realization that you’ve lost track of what you’re eating (or the frenzied addition in trying to keep track) can overturn the purpose of eating out in the first place – relaxation. So, how do you fend off the attack of the carbohydrates, and enjoy a meal out with friends?
• Remember to account for some bread or chips in your planning, and have the basket removed (completely, or at least from sight) after you’ve taken your portion
• Plan for what you’ll be drinking, and how many carbohydrates your drinks will bring to your meal
• Anticipate appetizers, and make sure something works well for you

Lastly, don’t be shy about asking for what you need, from your companions or from the restaurant. Knowing that the total of your meal – food and drink – is consistent with your diabetes meal plan will allow you to relax and enjoy the company.

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