Dining out may present challenges for diabetics

Dining out can be a difficult experience for a person with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The menus at many restaurants include few nutritious options. Most items are high in fat or carbs, which can wreak havoc on a diabetic's diet.

However, there are some ways individuals with compromised metabolic health can learn to eat out without throwing their disease management efforts out the window. For example, the Daily Comet of Louisiana recently reported on a program that is teaching local residents how to eat right when they are out with friends or family.

The program is called Dining Out with Diabetes Louisiana Style, and is being hosted by the Terrebonne General Medical Center. It features nutrition experts who offer tips ranging from controlling portion sizes to identifying and avoiding fatty dishes.

"You can make healthy choices and still leave a restaurant satisfied," Amanda Valence, the registered dietitian who is running the program, told the news source. "By doing things like limiting portion sizes, looking at the menu thoroughly and choosing something like boiled shrimp instead of fried shrimp, you can eat out without feeling guilty about it."

Since portion sizes at restaurants are often larger than what a person would prepare for themselves at home, avoiding overeating is one of the most important parts of dinning out. The American Diabetes Association recommends that individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes ask their server how large a dish is before ordering it. If the item ordered is larger than what a person would normally eat, they should ask to have the leftovers wrapped up.

The most important thing for individuals with diabetes to remember about eating out is the importance of planning. Knowing what is on the menu and when they will be eating ahead of time can make it much easier to manage the situation.

With a little extra work, individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes can enjoy the same positive experience from dinning out as everyone else.