Watch what you drink

Avoid high-calorie drinks

Sugar-sweetened soda can add hundreds of calories to your meal, especially if the restaurant offers free refills. Shakes and ice-cream drinks can have even more calories, as well as saturated fat. Instead order water, unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water, mineral water or diet soda.

Alcohol and diabetes

If your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine. But keep in mind that alcohol adds empty calories.

If you decide to drink alcohol

If you drink alcohol, choose options with fewer calories and carbohydrates, such as:

  • Light beer
  • Dry wines
  • Mixed drinks made with sugar-free mixers, such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer

Limit your alcohol to up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Eat on time

Eating at the same time every day can help you maintain steady blood sugar levels — especially if you take diabetes pills or insulin shots. If you're eating out with others, follow these tips:

  • Schedule the gathering at your usual mealtime.
  • To avoid waiting for a table, make a reservation or try to avoid times when the restaurant is busiest.
  • If you can't avoid eating later than usual, snack on a fruit or starch serving from the upcoming meal at your usual mealtime.

Save room for dessert

When you have diabetes, dessert isn't necessarily off-limits. Sweets count as carbohydrates in your meal plan. If you'd like dessert other than fruit, make it part of your meal plan and compensate by reducing the amount of other carbohydrates — such as bread, tortillas, rice, milk or potatoes — in your meal.

Remember the ground rules

Whether you're eating at home or eating out, remember the principles of diabetes nutrition:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Limit the amount of fat and salt in your diet.
  • Keep portion sizes in check.
  • Above all, follow the nutrition guidelines established by your doctor or registered dietitian.

Working with your doctor or dietitian, you can enjoy eating out without jeopardizing your meal plan.

Oct. 14, 2016 See more In-depth