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Eating Out With Type 2 Diabetes

Choosing Your Food

One of the first things to look for when choosing food items are "high-fat words." Some of these words may include:
  • Breaded
  • Buttered
  • Buttery cheese sauce
  • Creamed
  • Cream sauce
  • Fried
  • Deep-fried
  • French-fried
  • Batter-fried
  • Pan-fried
  • Southern-style
  • Hollandaise
  • Parmesan
  • Pastry.
Instead, try to look for these types of words:
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Grilled
  • Poached
  • Roasted
  • Steamed
  • Stir-fried.
Some other helpful tips for choosing your foods includes being cautious of sauces. Try to think about what you really "need" to eat. It can also help to try to trim off the fat on meat and take the skin off chicken. In addition, eating slowly can help you to not overeat and stick to your usual, at-home portion sizes.
Although many restaurants may not have exactly what you want, try to be creative and not worry if the situation is not quite perfect. In each of these situations, you will learn and become more prepared for the future.
If all else fails, most restaurants have a tossed salad. If nothing else on the menu seems suitable or within your individual meal plan, you can usually opt for the salad, topped with lemon juice, vinegar, or a low-fat dressing (on the side).

What About Eating Fast Food?

While this may surprise you, it is possible to make healthy fast-food choices. Realistically, there will likely be days when you need something to eat, and you need it quickly. Don't go without eating because you are afraid of the fast-food option. Fast-food chains now have more healthy food options than ever.
Again, it can help to plan ahead and know what's on the menu, but the ground rules of good nutrition will still hold true, whether it's a formal sit-down restaurant or a fast-food chain. Choose a variety of foods in moderate amounts, limit the amount of fat you eat, and be watchful for the amount of salt in the food.
At the same time, it's important to understand that it can be quite easy to order an entire day's worth of fat, salt, and calories in one simple fast-food meal, so be careful! Here are some tips to help you when you pull up to that drive-thru:
  • Many fast-food places will list the nutritional value of the foods, or you can often look them up online
  • Understand that an average fast-food meal can be as high as 1,000 calories or more, which can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels above your target range
  • If you do have a fast-food meal, try to have your other meals that day be healthier foods, such as fruits and veggies
  • Many places have healthy sides, such as apple slices, carrots, fruits, and salads
  • If you want chicken or fish, opt for those that aren't breaded and deep-fried, if possible.
If you will be eating a fast-food breakfast, try to go with a plain bagel, toast, or English muffin. Other muffins can be full of fat and sugar. Also, most places have fruit and yogurt options. If you choose pancakes, ask to leave the butter off. If you want to have bacon and sausage, try to limit them, as they are high in fat. Don't forget to also keep in mind the portion sizes.
Many fast-food places offer salads. Even so, you still need to be cautious. Salads that contain a lot of high-fat meats and cheese can actually contain more calories than a cheeseburger. And to make matters worse, salad dressing packets are often filled with extra fat and calories. A little bit can go a long way, so try to use the smallest amount possible.
If you want to order a sandwich, here are some tips to take into consideration:
  • Try to find the smallest sandwich on the menu
  • Look for sandwiches, wraps, or salads that include grilled, rather than fried, chicken or fish
  • Ask to have the extras, such as mayonnaise, sauces, and cheese, left off or on the side
  • If you want to add condiments, try opting for barbecue sauce, salsa, mustard, or fat-free salad dressing
  • If you do decide on French fries, keep the portion size small or split them with a friend
  • For drinks, look for sugar-free ones, such as water, coffee, diet sodas, or unsweetened tea
  • Choose lean meats or veggies for a sub sandwich.
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