Eating Out

Eat out without going out of bounds

Who doesn't love eating out! But when you're not the cook in the kitchen, it's hard to know if what you’re eating is off track. It also doesn't help that restaurant portions today are larger than ever. So here are nine smart tips for enjoying a meal out and not ending up with a side order of confusion. Make sure you discuss any changes in your diet with your healthcare provider.

1. Say "No, thank you."

Avoid unhealthy restaurant freebees such as breadbaskets, chips, or fried noodles. Sip a seltzer or unsweetened iced tea instead.

2. Order first.

That way other people's orders don't tempt you into unhealthy choices.

3. Be creative.

Who says you have to order a main course? Limit portions by ordering salads, soups, appetizers, or small plates instead.

4. Up the veggies, lower the carbs.

Go for two vegetables of the day or substitute a salad.

5. Watch the portion distortion.

Ask those you're eating with to split or share.

6. Make "dressing on the side" your favorite phrase.

Dilute thick salad dressings, like Thousand Island and blue cheese, with lemon or vinegar.

It's no problem for the restaurant to bring a lemon wedge or red wine vinegar along with the dressing on the side you order.

7. Tell your server, "Please bring me a to-go container when you bring my meal."

Put food that seems to be too much in the to-go container. Your leftovers become tomorrow's heat-and-eat lunch or dinner.

8. Cancel your membership to the "Clean Plate Club."

Make it a habit to leave a few bites on your plate—particularly foods with a high carb count.

9. Skip dessert unless it's extra delicious.

On occasion and when you know a dessert will be worth every bite, go ahead, order one, and split it.

Party smarts

Going to a party can be stressful if you have diabetes. While others are catching up, you might find yourself fixated on what you can and can't eat, and how you'll excuse yourself when you need to take your medicine. What's more, parties are usually focused on food—and lots of it.

Coach Mallory says:

How to party without paying the price

  • Eat a healthy snack before you head to the party, then you can spend your time talking to people
  • Raw, crunchy vegetables make a great snack at a party. So try them. Or offer to bring a healthy dish, and make enough for everyone to share
  • Keep a glass of club soda with a wedge of lime in your hand—people will think you're having a cocktail and will not try to coax you into having one


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