Eating Out & Diabetes
It is not difficult to stick to your meal plan when you dine in restaurants. You can still order nutritious foods when you eat away from home.
Diabetes which happens only after you have conceived is known as gestational diabetes. Similar to other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes results in excessive blood glucose. If gestational diabetes occurs, your levels of blood glucose will need to be controlled through a gestational diabetes diet, exercise and, possibly, medication.
Fortunately, having gestational diabetes is not necessarily the end of eating out for the remaining months of your pregnancy. All that is needed is sticking to the rules you have been following at home and making the right food choices. Kelly O’Conner who is a certified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian at Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, says that a diet containing half of the total calories from carbohydrates is recommended for women suffering from gestational diabetes. Brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, potatoes, low-fat dairy products, fresh fruits, cereals and whole-grain breads provide good carbohydrates. She tries to get women with gestational diabetes to eat almost the same quantity of carbohydrates every day.
The most important point to remember is the timing when dining out. O’Conner recommends that women with gestational diabetes consume food once in two or three hours. This means that the patient takes three meals and two or three snacks each day. According to her, eating a moderate quantity of carbohydrates with the meals or snacks two to three hours apart can stabilize blood glucose the whole day. To avoid having to wait too long, and be unable to follow your planned meal times, make reservations and go to a restaurant which is not so busy. This way, you get to follow your usual meal times.
Basic tips for dining out diabetes-friendly – Video Guide
Some Pointers On Dining Out While Having Gestational Diabetes
Whether you eat out or have a meal at home, your choice of foods is the same. The right choice is a balanced meal of a little fat, carbohydrates and lean protein. Just as you do at home, you also count the calories you eat when dining out.
- Choose a suitable restaurant.
Always go to restaurants which have choices which are “heart-healthy”. There are restaurants which include information on fat and calorie in the menu. If necessary, request for meals with less fat such as skinless chicken and lean meat. Look for a restaurant with more healthy choices.
- The serving size is important.
Most restaurants serve more food per meal than what you give yourself at home. No super-size, deluxe, and jumbo meals for you.
- Be careful with the gravy and dressings.
Request for gravy, sauces and dressing to be served separately so that you can limit their use and reduce the calories consumed. If reduced-fat salad dressing is available, you should ask for it.
- Plan your meals.
Eating a roll before your meal has to be included in the carbohydrate count for that meal. Similarly, if you wish to have dessert, the amount of carbohydrates in your dessert has to be included in the total carbohydrates for the meal. Replacement of a dish can be done with fries replaced with vegetables or salads.
- A drink has to be included in your carbohydrates counting.
Most beverages contain plenty of carbohydrates. Your blood glucose levels can be raised with coffee, sweetened tea, lemonade, fruit drinks, juices and regular soda. Alcohol, which rarely is nutritious, brings along additional calories.
- Be careful with fast foods.
A healthy meal is possible at a restaurant selling fast food but you must be mindful that the usual fast-food meal can contain at least 1,000 calories which can result in a quick rise in your blood glucose level. Most fast food are have more fat and salt than normal and even when fish or chicken is chosen, it may come deep-fried or breaded. Go for baked or grilled choices instead.
It is more convenient and enjoyable to have meals outside the home as there is no need for any cooking and washing in the kitchen. However, if you want to eat out and you have gestational diabetes, you have to choose a suitable restaurant, make reservations, and make suitable food choices at the restaurant. So, it is alright to eat out so long as your blood glucose is kept under control with the consumption of balanced meals consisting of lean meat with hardly any fat, and carbohydrates; and calorie counting is carried out.