|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
Eating Out When You Have Diabetes
Mmm . . . Italian food . . . Chinese . . . seafood . . . no, wait — Mexican! Definitely Mexican food tonight! Sound familiar? Everybody loves to eat out. Can kids with diabetes go out to restaurants? Sure they can.
Which Restaurant Should I Choose?
Kids who have diabetes don't need to eat a special diet. But like all kids, they should eat a mix of healthy foods. No restaurant is off-limits, but if you're helping to choose a restaurant, look for ones that offer some nutritious items. You can check out menus online.
You don't have to find a place that serves soy burgers and carrot sticks — although that might be yummy! If you can choose some protein, fats, and carbohydrates, then you'll be able to stick to your meal plan.
Sometimes you'll go to restaurants that have just what you want and need. Other times, you may have trouble finding something that fits into your meal plan. If that happens, remember that you're in the driver's seat. You don't just have to order blindly or take whatever is on the menu. Many restaurants will answer your questions and make substitutions, if you request them.
Some Quick Tips
Try these tips when you're dining out:
What Should I Bring With Me?
When you go out to eat, you should bring the things you take with you everywhere, like testing supplies, snacks, and medications. Another helpful tool is a little book that lists the calories, fats, and carbs in certain foods (you can get this from your doctor or dietitian). You can slip this book in your bag or pocket and test how well you can choose from the menu yourself. If you use things like artificial sweeteners or fat-free spreads, feel free to bring them along, too.
If you take insulin (say: IN-suh-lin), there's no need to stay home if you have to eat later than usual — in most cases, you can just make a few adjustments to your medicine schedule.
Once you know how to eat healthy, you can do it almost anywhere. Now, the only question is, do you want the chicken taco salad, the lobster tail, or . . . mmm . . . pizza!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD