Dining out should not become your habit. The frequency of eating out for diabetics can vary depending on your overall health, diabetes management goals and the choices available at the restaurant. However, it is generally recommended to limit eating out and prioritise preparing meals at home, says Dr Singh. But once in a while you can eat out and enjoy meals. Here’s what to keep in mind while eating out if you have diabetes:
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1. Practise portion control
Diabetics should pay attention to portion sizes while eating out. Restaurants often serve large portions, which can lead to overeating and spike in blood sugar level. It’s advisable to ask for smaller portions, share meals or pack half of the meal for later.
2. Choose whole foods
Go for meals that include whole and unprocessed foods. Focus on lean protein sources such as grilled chicken or fish, vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, and fruits. Avoid dishes that are fried or covered in heavy sauces.
3. Limit refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and pasta can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, says the expert. Choose complex carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. So, whenever you go out, request for whole grain options.
4. Watch out for added sugars
Many restaurant meals, especially desserts and sweetened beverages, contain high amounts of added sugars. These can lead to blood sugar imbalances. Avoid sugary drinks and desserts, and if you have a craving, consider sharing a small portion. After all, what are family and friends for?
5. Be mindful of fats
While healthy fats are essential, some restaurant dishes might contain excessive amounts of unhealthy fats such as trans fats or saturated fats These fats can negatively impact heart health. Choose dishes that are prepared with healthier cooking methods such as grilling, steaming or baking, and choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil or avocado instead of unhealthy fats like butter or hydrogenated oils