What to Watch Out For
So it's Valentine's Day coming up, and your loved one is treating you to a dinner out. What should you be looking out for to avoid a very unromantic hypo or hyper?
French is traditionally the food of love, but you might find it tricky to order healthy food straight off the menu. Lots of dishes are smothered in cheese or creamy sauces, but you can choose healthier options like mussels cooked in wine not cream, Bouillabaisse, the traditional low-fat fish broth and Nicoise salad.
Skip the cheese course and of course, avoid too many French Frites both in the Bistro or any other restaurant!
Thinking of Drinking French Wine?
The French are known for their good wine, but if you have diabetes, you have to be careful about drinking wine.
According to the American Diabetes Association, drinking wine or in fact, any alcoholic beverage can lower blood sugar for up to 24 hours because alcohol blocks the production of glucose in the liver. Because of this, they recommend checking your blood sugar before you drink, while you drink, and monitoring it for up to 24 hours after drinking.
Now I know what you are thinking, but no, you cannot have a couple of glasses of wine and hope it lowers your blood glucose enough to offset that giant slice of frosted cake you’ve spotted on the menu.
Some alcohol can raise blood sugar levels – it's hard to predict how you will react.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that if you do want to drink alcohol, that you do so with food and test your blood glucose if you can for up to 24 hours after drinking.
Intoxication and low blood sugar can share many of the same symptoms, so failing to check your blood glucose could cause others to assume you’re feeling the effects of an alcoholic beverage when in reality your blood sugar may be reaching dangerously low levels.
Drinking spritzers or coolers can be a great compromise while some studies have revealed that one glass of red wine a day can help reduce heart disease in people with diabetes. That’s one glass, not one bottle. Drinking more than one glass will void any potential health benefit.
If you're opting for Chinese food, avoid deep fried items and choose a healthier stir-fry. Some restaurants prepare it right in front of you so you can decide what goes in. Then choose boiled rice or noodles over egg-fried rice as your carb portion.
Asian style hotpot or steamboat is a good choice.
You can choose a broth (there’s usually a choice of spicy or not spicy and meat-based or vegetable based broth) then add healthy choices like vegetables and seafood or lean meat. Everyone at the table shares the broth, dipping ingredients in like a fondue but without the high-fat, high-carb naughtiness.
At the end of dipping, you drink the now flavorsome soup with or without noodles. It’s a lovely sociable low carb choice
Maybe you fancy an Italian treat? Pizza is nice but be careful which toppings you add.
Roasted vegetables and olives are much better for you than spicy meats and sausages. Some restaurants now offer a slimmer’s pizza which is a lighter thin crust and has a hole in the middle filled with salad.
If your favorite restaurant doesn’t do this, choose thin crust with a side of salad instead of garlic bread! Oh, but don't forget to watch out for those salad dressings. Opt for vinaigrette, a splash of Balsamic vinegar or no dressing at all.
Lasagna (and in fact many pasta dishes) can be a high-fat luxury.
Remember, Not All Food is Bad
As I said before no food is banned for those with diabetes so if you must have a creamy pasta dish, why not ask for a half portion or choose from the children’s menu.
All the taste but half of the carbs, fat, and calories. Or if you must have the whole portion, skip dessert, especially if there’s Tiramisu on the menu.
If you don’t want to feel left out, maybe opt for an Italian coffee to sip while others eat dessert. Beware of carb-laden milky coffees like latte and cappuccino though. Choose espresso or Americano or a brew you can add just a dash of milk.