8 smart strategies for dining out

Whether you realize it or not, little decisions like where you should dine, with whom you eat and what you do after you dine can all help you control your diabetes.

8 smart strategies for dining out

1. Splurge and go upscale

Look for a restaurant that prides itself on using in-season, local ingredients.

  • Such places tend to serve smaller portions of top-quality foods, rather than gargantuan platters of inexpensive, oily pastas and pizzas.
  • If it's local, the menu will usually say where top-quality fish, meat or produce is from.

2. Dine with like-minded people

  • If your friends order grilled fish and salads with the dressing on the side, you're more likely to do so, too.
  • Sample all of the entrées when they're served. The variety will make you feel like you indulged more than you really did — and you'll know what you want to order next time.

3. Become a "regular"

If you dine out often, the advice to frequent the same restaurants is for you.

  • The more new choices you're faced with, the more easily you'll be seduced by foods you probably shouldn't be eating.
  • Limit temptation by ordering from a familiar menu and choosing dishes you know work well for your blood sugar.

4. Plan to be all-out sinful

  • You've been dreaming of that triple brownie sundae and homemade pasta at the local Italian restaurant since your last anniversary dinner there. So go!

Always saying "no" to food treats can make you resent your healthy diet. And even nutritionists say that they go out and have their "weakness" food — maybe it's onion rings or ice cream — once every six or eight months.

5. Put a cork in it

Ordering wine by the bottle is usually a better deal than buying it by the glass (unless there are only two of you and you're sure you're each going to drink only one glass).

  • But don't have seconds just to finish the bottle.
  • Ask the waiter if the restaurant allows you to put the cork back in and take the rest of the bottle home.

6. Save some chat for a walk

  • Even a casual lunch with an old friend can turn into an exercise opportunity if you take an energized turn or two around a nearby park or the mall afterwards.

Light exercise is a sure way to help level your blood sugar if a meal has caused it to spike.

7. Check your blood sugar after

Check your blood sugar two hours after eating, if possible.

  • If the result is within your target range, you'll know to order the same thing when you go back.
  • If it's not, avoid those dishes next time or try making adjustments to your meal, such as declining the bread or substituting a vegetable for the rice or potato.

8. Have a frozen treat

A filling restaurant meal can cause you to order a dessert that you didn't really want — and finish the whole thing. That can ruin a carefully chosen meal.

  • If you don't have a healthy dessert at home that's ready to eat, walk to the nearest place that serves frozen yogurt.
  • Who knows? You might even decide on the way over that you're too full for dessert after all.

A fine dining experience

Why not take a page from the past, and inject a little excitement back into your restaurant outings?

These simple strategies can make your dining experience more enjoyable and help you stay on track with healthy eating, an important habit in the battle with diabetes.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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