Eating out with type 2 diabetes: Foods to avoid

Diabetics have to watch their diet all the time, but that doesn't mean they can't dine out. You just need to know what to avoid while eating out.
Eating out
Watch what you order while eating out with diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 18:27 pm IST
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After your type 2 diabetes diagnosis, your diet suddenly comes into focus. Be it tempting desserts or finger-licking fried chicken, you need to say goodbye to all the unhealthy foods. It’s all about home-cooked foods. But there are times when you feel like dining out, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Living with diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out anymore. You just have to be more careful about your diabetes diet.

Health Shots consulted Dr D P Singh, Consultant Internal Medicine, Regency Superspeciality Hospital, Lucknow, to know about eating out with diabetes.

type 2 diabetes
Be careful if you are eating out and have diabetes. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Eating out with diabetes: Do’s and don’ts

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:

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 levels. 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?

diet for diabetes
Don’t eat foods with heavy amount of unhealthy fats. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

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.

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Is pizza healthy for diabetics?

A pizza is cheesy and loaded with your choice of vegetables and meat. A few slices of pizza can even make someone’s day! But if you have diabetes, make sure that when you choose pizza or fast food options, be mindful of certain ingredients. Here are some ingredients to consider skipping or limiting:

1. Refined grains

Opt for whole grain crusts or bread when possible. Avoid crusts that are made from refined flour, as they can quickly raise blood sugar levels.

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2. Excessive cheese

While cheese can be a source of protein, it is also high in saturated fats and calories. Limit the amount of cheese on pizzas or opt for healthier toppings like vegetables and lean meats instead, suggests Dr Singh.

3. Sugary sauces and toppings

Some pizza and fast food sauces might contain added sugars. Choose options with minimal or no added sugar, and be cautious of sweet toppings like sugary barbecue sauce or sweetened dressings.

Fast food items often catch our eyes when we eat out. They are yummy, but also high in unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars. So, they should generally be avoided or consumed in moderation by diabetics. That means watch how much fried chicken or chicken nuggets, French fries or onion rings, you are having.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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