Going Out For Dinner
Having a cocktail? Great.
Avoid high-calorie libations when going out for dinner!
We all know that a regular soda is full of sugar and will add hundreds of calories to your dinner; I avoid anything but water or a glass of red wine when going out for dinner anymore. Shakes and ice-cream drinks are my favorite but we won’t even go there. Just thinking about it kind of triggers my sweet tooth.
So if you’re going out for dinner to someplace that is semi-fancy and by that I do mean not a fast-food diner, try to avoid soda (or pop) and if you must, then try a diet soda. But if it were me, and I do avoid all fast-food joints for anything unless my blood sugar is spiraling downwards and I’m not at home. The fastest carbohydrate that I know of is orange juice (for me).
When I order something to drink at dinner, I stick to iced tea, seltzer water, diet soda, or plain water. And tap water is off limits for me, see what I think about that right here! Nooooo tap water in my mouth!
If your diabetes has been well under control and if you have seen a doctor in the not so distant past and everything seemed well for you, then having an alcohol drink with dinner is probably not going to hurt you. However, this is totally up to you. This is by no means me telling you to go ahead and live it up. Caution is always the better side of any question such as this.
When you know that you have plans for the evening and you’re going out for dinner, and possibly dining and dancing at a company party, then you should probably have some plan of action for you and your diabetes for the evening.
For example: Will there be cocktails before dinner, wine with dinner, and maybe after dinner drinks? Will you be dancing after dinner into the night? You will get pretty thirsty if you like to dance and what are you going to drink? This is what I mean by having a plan. Drinking and dancing into the night should not be an option.
Dancing on the other hand is very good exercise and you are more than welcome to dance all night as long as you quench your thirst with something along the same lines as liquid with no calories.
I don’t drink anymore, except for an occasional glass of dry red wine. That’s probably once in six months but that’s me and not you. So going out for dinner and an evening of fun isn’t an issue for me anymore. I can still have a great time without drinking.
Now the article that I read about this alcohol thing says that your doctor should sign off on the idea of a glass of wine or whatever it is that you plan to have. ??? If you feel it necessary, then do so but that’s not me either.
If it’s alcohol with dinner, then….
- a dry non-sweet wine
- a light beer (I assume because of the calories)
- mixed drinks should be made with sugar-free anything; soda, tonic water, seltzer water, club soda, etc.
Limiting alcohol intake
Another article I read recommends that women and men under 65 should have no more than one drink per day. Men over 65 are welcome to have two drinks per day. My question mark went up here too but I could not find any answers as to why older men would be different than the rest of us when it comes to alcohol intake and diabetes. Maybe you have an answer to this not so obvious question?
Eating on time might not be an option
But if it’s a fancy restaurant and you are going out for dinner with other people, then you don’t have much say in the time of day, or even the restaurant for that matter.
For us, eating on time or at the same time every day helps us to keep our blood sugar levels on an even keel. This is especially true if we are also taking medication to help us keep our blood sugar level. If going out for dinner with others, try and follow these tips:
- Try to get your party to schedule the meal at the time you would normally eat that meal.
- If at all possible, get them to make a reservation so you don’t have to ever wait for a table.
- If there is nothing that you can do about the time you will be eating when going out for dinner, then try to eat a snack before leaving home for the meal.
What about dessert?
Yeah, yeah, I know. But we have diabetes, we aren’t dead for crying out loud. And we are supposed to stay away from sugar calories while our mouth waters at the kahlua cheesecake? Sugar or sweets are all counted as part of our carbohydrates. If you decide that you’d like to have dessert, then make plans to cut back on the other carbohydrates that you would consume with dinner.
Just for that cheesecake, I’d throw out the potato, the bread, the veges; “I’ll just have the steak rare and the cheesecake please”! Yeah right.
Reducing carbs in the rest of your meal such as bread, and potatoes, will allow room for a dessert. Maybe not a triple fudge brownie, with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream; but use your common sense. If that’s really what you want, then cut the portion in thirds and eat one-third of the triple dessert.
Remember, there are those ground rules!
Always remember, whether you are going out for dinner, or eating dinner at home, there are principles, rules, for diabetic nutrition:
- Include a variety of healthy foods with each meal.
- Limit your salt (I season while cooking and never use the salt shaker at the table).
- Check the size of your portions.
- Hopefully you have worked with your doctor or a dietitian and established a set of nutrition guidelines for you to follow! If not, make this a priority to accomplish.
If you work closely with your doc, hopefully a nutritionist or dietitian, then you will be able to enjoy your food and not worry about jeopardizing your meal plans.
If you’d like to read more information about the do’s and don’ts when going out for dinner, and drinks? Read here at the Mayo Clinic.
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