Welcome to DIY (Do It Yourself) Diabetes with Marci Page Sloane

Diabetes & Dining Out
Marci’s DIY tips for dining at your favorite restaurants

When you dine out, please continue to use your common sense. Make reasonable choices for continued success. Take a moment to consider all the foods that will have the most impact on your blood sugar and be moderate with them. Also, think heart health! Here are some suggestions:

Chinese Food

  • Shrimp, chicken, pork or beef with vegetables.
  • Do not get breaded or fried choices.
  • Ask for your food dry, with little sauce or get it steamed with the sauce on the side for dipping.
  • The sauce has hundreds of calories, lots of salt, sugar, fat, and cornstarch.
  • Get white rice (or brown when available) and don’t eat more than ⅔ cup (cooked).
  • Each ⅓ of a cup of cooked rice is about 80 calories and 4 teaspoons of sugar (and that is for steamed rice not fried!)
  • Eat the inside of the egg roll and watch all the extra sauces like duck sauce (sweet) and soy sauce (salty) that you add.
  • Have the soup, but only have a few fried noodles if you must.
  • Eat half the ice cream or a fortune cookie, if necessary.

Think: What is affecting my blood sugar from this meal?
Hint: Rice, sauces, noodles, egg roll wrapper, wonton wrappers and dessert.

Italian Food

  • If you have Parmesan veal, chicken or shrimp, do not get the cheese on top! This saves an easy 500 calories (500 calories x 7 days a week is the pound you will lose at the end of the week). Remember that excess weight effects glucose levels.
  • The cheese that restaurants use has a lot of sodium, fat and artery-clogging saturated fat.
  • You can also choose a dish that is not fried or soaked in butter or cream sauce, like a broiled piece of fish, etc. Heart disease is a common complication of diabetes.
  • Have your side dish of pasta and one roll, or forego the pasta and have a double order of vegetables. Have a salad with the vinaigrette on the side.
  • The soup has additional carbohydrates, so you need to decide how you want to “spend your carbohydrate budget.”
  • If your meal is large then bring some home, and wait until the next day to eat it!

Think: What is affecting my blood sugar from this meal?
Hint: Breading, bread, pasta, sauce, beans and dessert.

Mexican Food

  • Forego the nachos or share them with friends.
  • Try to limit cheese and/or fried dishes. After all, full-fat cheese is 100 calories per ounce with sodium and saturated fat that clogs your arteries.
  • Choose shrimp, vegetable or chicken fajitas.
  • Ask them to leave off the sour cream (saturated fat), and provide only one or two tortillas instead of 4 (then there is no temptation to overeat the carbs).
  • You may have guacamole, but not the sour cream, which is artery clogging! Instead of refried beans, ask for black beans.
  • The cheese, meat, avocado and sour cream have many, many calories.
  • The avocado (guacamole) is the healthiest of the choices - enjoy it without all the rest. You want to be heart healthy!

Think: What is affecting my blood sugar from this meal?
Hint: Nachos, tortillas, beans, chips and dessert.

Japanese Food

  • Sushi, or even better, sashimi (sushi without rice)
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Teriyaki dishes (sauce on the side)
  • Do not overuse the soy sauce or any sauces – remember that sauces carry the majority of fat, salt and/or sugar. In this case, soy sauce has about ½ of your daily sodium allowance in one tablespoon so please use the lower sodium soy sauce and use it sparingly.
  • Have a miso soup (salty) or a salad with your entrée
  • Japanese food is usually one of the better lower-calorie choices you can make, but watch the salt!

Think: What is affecting my blood sugar from this meal?
Hint: Rice, dumplings, teriyaki sauce, noodles and dessert.

Continental Cuisine

  • Always have a salad to fill up on.
  • If you have a piece of bread or a roll, do not eat your potato.
  • Order your protein with a double order of vegetables, and make sure they are not swimming in butter. Don't be shy or ashamed to ask for it the way you want (or need) it.
  • Do not have dessert just for the sake of having it. After a full meal, you should not be hungry! Therefore, there is no need for dessert! Get out of that habit. Have coffee or a skim-milk latte instead (if you have some carbs left in your dinner budget).

Think: What is affecting my blood sugar from this meal?
Hint: Bread, potato, pasta, rice, corn, peas, beans, soups with beans or rice or noodles and dessert.

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. Marci is the author of The Diet Game: Playing for Life! More about Marci Sloane

The goal of Destination Diabetes is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.