Eating Out When You Have Gestational Diabetes

by Platt Devost

Eating out with gestational diabetesAt your prenatal appointment you learned that you have gestational diabetes. The nutritionist explained your new eating and exercise plan and gave you a list to help put together meals and snacks.

It looks easy enough -- lean proteins, healthy carbs, fresh vegetables and fruits.

You suddenly remember your lunch date coming up. Can you still dine out? Certainly! Gestational diabetes isn't a prison sentence. These lifestyle change help protect your and your baby's health. You can easily plan meals away from home.

"I didn't treat eating out any differently than any other meal. I'd have a snack a couple of hours before so I wasn't starved I'd pig out. After our meal, I'd just walk around the parking lot for a few minutes before I got in the car." ~Bonita, member

Choosing a Restaurant

Research restaurants: Most chain and fast food restaurants have websites with all of their nutritional information so that you can plan your meal ahead of time.

Have a plan of attack: Think simple. You can order a piece of grilled fish or chicken most places. Round out your meal with whole grains and vegetables and fruits. If your lifestyle packet includes exercise after each meal, consider parking the car a few blocks away or strolling around doing a bit of window shopping.

Does your plan include a meal or snack every couple hours? If so, consider making reservations that coincide with your regular meal times and visiting during less busy hours so you don't get stuck waiting for a table.

Skip the freebies: Ask that your server not being breads, chips or other pre-meal appetizers. If you need a snack to carry you over, ask for a vegetable platter.

Portion control: Often the portion of a restaurant meal is 2-3 times the amount you should be eating. If you find it hard to control your eating, split an entrée with a friend or ask for half of it to be wrapped to go right when you get it.

Make substitutions: You're not being a pest; you're taking care of yourself and your baby. Get an order of vegetables or garden salad in place of a side of fries. Ask for fresh fruit instead of hash browns. See if the chef can can prepare lower-fat meals for you with lean cuts of meat or chicken without the skin.

On the side: Ask for your dressing, sauces, and gravy to be served on the side and then use them sparingly to avoid excess calories.

Extras: Beware of the toppings. Bacon bits, croutons and fried chips sabotage your nutrition goals by quickly increasing a meal's calorie and carbohydrate count.

Count what you drink: Regular soda, juices, fruit drinks, lemonade and sweetened tea or coffee can all elevate your blood sugar. Sparkling water adds a festive feel without the carbs and calories.

You can enjoy eating out even with gestational diabetes. You just need to plan ahead, pick the right restaurant, and make the right food choices once you get there.

What's your favorite place to go for a GD-friendly meal?

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