Once diagnosed with diabetes, you may often face trouble managing your diet when eating out, which can lead to a spike in your otherwise controlled levels of sugar. This can prove to be a serious threat to your health. But, don’t worry, having diabetes does not mean that you should stop eating out. Just follow these simple principles, to ensure a trouble free dine-out.

Plan your carbohydrates (carbs): With rice, potatoes and several varieties of breads, lentils and dried beans along with sweet desserts – carbs while eating out can be dangerously high. To enjoy a healthy meal, choose two favorite higher-carb foods with a sensible portion of each.

Choose whole grains: Ask if brown basmati rice and whole-wheat naan or rotis are available.

Watch serving size: Restaurants can be generous with high-carb rice & breads. Eat small portions.

Skip fried foods and dishes made with high calorie cheeses and clarified butter: Dishes like samosas, pakora and puri are deep-fried and loaded with calories and fat. Clarified butter and cheeses are high in calories and saturated fat. Avoid these in restaurants. Focus on tandoori and tikka as they require much less oil than the ones with gravy.

Go light on creamy dishes: When choosing a creamy dish such as a curry or korma, share it with several people along with salads and vegetables, thereby reducing your consumption. Steer clear of dishes loaded with mayonnaise or sour cream. Choose dishes with a tomato based sauce instead.

Pile on the veggies: If the restaurant offers vegetable side dishes, ask how they are prepared to make sure they aren’t fried and don’t have a rich sauce. If no healthy vegetable side dishes are on the menu, ask if the chef can prepare a side of steamed or stir fried vegetables.

Choose dishes made with legumes (daal/chhole/rajma/lobia) as they have moderate amount of carbs but are very high in fiber, which means you’ll feel full after a small serving.

Chose non-veg wisely: Have small portions of lean meat, poultry or fish. Select grilled or baked chicken without the skin and limit batter fried dishes.

Have a healthier dessert: Avoid conventional desserts having high calorific content. You can opt for natural mouth fresheners like saunf or flaxseeds or low calorie desserts, like low-cal frozen yoghurt, sugar free ice-creams or sweets made of natural sweeteners like anjeer, with reduced portion size.

Try to follow a few generic guidelines to ensure eating right:

Food Portion – 1 Healthy Serving Amount (1 serving)
For vegetable, choose an amount that fits into both hands (open) About 1 cup or 150 gm
For cereals, grains and other starchy carbohydrates, choose an amount the size of your closed fist About 1/3 cup raw or 30 gm or 1 cup cooked
For meat, fish, chicken and other non-dairy protein, choose an amount the size of your palm and the thickness of a little finger About 90-120 gm
For fruit, choose an amount of your fist-size About ½ cup or 70-100 gm
For beans and nuts, choose an amount that fits into a cupped hand About 30-50 gm
Limit fat to an amount the size of the tip of your thumb One teaspoon or 5 ml
For dairy, milk and its derivatives (e.g. curd or chhach) 250 ml (8 oz)/1 cup of low-fat milk


A few pointers:

Good Choice Bad Choice
Cereals / Pulses Plain roti, tandoori roti, roomali roti, plain naan, plain brown rice, idli, brown bread, whole wheat bun, plain yellow dal, rajma, chole. Puri, parathas, kachoris, butter naan, khasta roti, bhaturas, kulchas, biryani, garlic bread, croissant, dal makhani.
Vegetables Stir fried veg, veg cooked with less oil or fat, steamed veg, tawa or tandoori veg, khumb palak, khumb makai etc. Veg cooked in thick gravy, veg koftas, pakoras, aloo dum, potato chips, bhindi fry, paneer makhni, cream mashed potatoes, manchurian.
Non-Veg Poultry and fish, any dish which is boiled, steamed, tandoori, stir-fried, grilled, tawa or oven-roasted. Examples include grilled chicken, tandoori chicken, steamed or grilled fish, chicken kababs, etc. Red meat, fish or chicken that is deep-fried or cooked in rich gravy. Examples butter chicken, chicken korma, fried fish, meat koftas, cutlets, malai chicken tikkas (deep fried), crumb fried chicken, chilli chicken in garlic sauce, organ meats like liver, kidney, brain etc.
Sauces and Dressing Tomato sauce, vinegar and lime juice, low fat yoghurt dressing, dijon mustard. Mayonnaise, thousand island, caesars dressing, hollandaise sauce, bearnaise sauce.
Dairy Products Plain low fat milk, curd, yoghurt, raita with vegetables. Cottage cheese. Milk shakes, ice creams, dahi pakori/ boondi. Cheese in sauces/baked dishes.
Soup Clear soup, hot & sour soup, plain veg. Soup, tomato shorba, pumpkin lentil soup, tom yum soup. Creamed soups like cream of mushrooms, asparagus, chicken, paya soup, egg drop soup, tom kha kai.
Snacks Idli, khaman, khandvi, dhokla, fruit chaat, upma, poha, grilled chicken sandwich, burritos and fajitas. Berai, pakora, samosa, bhajiyas, pies, patties, sandwich with chicken salad with rich dressing, enchiladas.



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