How to find diabetes-friendly menu options
Managing diabetes often — and unfairly — gets a bad rap for being restrictive on people’s lifestyles, especially in terms of diet. At My Diabetes Home, we resist the stigma by pointing out that living with diabetes encourages us to make smarter, healthier decisions resulting in healthier and fuller lives. Today’s post is the second part of a two-part series about eating well in the real world. This entry is focused on selecting healthy menu options when you’re out at restaurants. The folks at Prevention.com have a featured interview with chef and author Sam Talbot, who also lives with diabetes. Talbot creates a helpful list of foods to avoid while you’re scanning menus. Below is a partial sample of the worst offenders. Menu Items to Avoid
- BBQ — Barbecue sauce is usually loaded with sugar and slathered onto gigantic portions of the accompanying smoked meat.
- Cream-based soups — No matter the amount of veggies in your bowl, the health benefits of cream-based soups are usually lost to the fat and calorie content of creamy soups. Ask your server about a broth-based soup instead, preferably vegetable.
- Fat-free or gluten-free items— Surprised? The problem with these menu items (designed for specific diets other than diabetic) is that they often substitute in a whole lot of sugar in order to cut out the wheat and fat. That’s bad news for people with diabetes.
- Tempura — As much as we love to snack on some sashimi, selecting any tempura options at your local Japanese eatery is a bad move for diabetic diets. “Tempura” basically means the item is breaded and fried, and you should always avoid anything fried.
- Grilled— Grilling food comes with the benefit of not adding any unhealthy cooking oils or frying methods to your meal. Grilled chicken or fish would be an excellent option for any night out.
- Burgers minus the “stuff”— The occasional burger is fine, just be wary of portion sizes and extra unhealthy condiments or toppings like ketchup, mayonnaise or cheese. Instead. Load your burger with veggies instead, like tomato, lettuce and onion. (If you’re on the west coast, go with protein style at your local In-N-Out!)
- Side salad — Just because your entree comes with fries or a potato doesn’t mean you can’t substitute a healthier option. Ask your server for a vegetable or side salad, and avoid unhealthy creamy dressings.
- Unprocessed meats — If you’re craving a tasty sandwich, be sure to stick with carved deli-style meat rather than processed options like salami or bologna.