Type 1 Thursday – How to eat at restaurants
Is eating at restaurants difficult while trying to maintain normal blood sugars?
This is my little guide of how to eat at restaurants while maintaining the normal blood sugars all Type 1 Diabetics deserve and should strive for!
I share my top six tips for successfully dining out, what to focus on and how to build a meal. Check it out here:
What are your best tips for dining out with Type 1 Diabetes (or if you’re mindful of your sugar consumption over all)? Let me know in a comment!
If you prefer to read, here’s an unedited version:
Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of type one Thursday with me Hanna which is one of the founders of The Low Carb Universe. We organize Europe’s truly healthy hundred percent real food events. But that’s not what we’re here to talk to you about today.
Today is, of course, another episode of Type 1 Thursday, where we discuss all things, type one diabetes, and low carb and healthy food and healthy eating and all of that stuff that may not be talked about as much in other places. So I thought, hey, why not? Let’s do it.
I am a type one diabetic since 34 years this year, which is yay, you know, alive and stuff. Today, I will be sharing with you you how to navigate restaurants, and eating outside of your home with type 1 diabetes, and how to maintain normal glycaemic blood sugar levels throughout this. And do stay tuned, because I will be revealing my top six tips on how to actually make this happen properly, after a bit of an introduction and stuff like that.
Why are normal blood sugars so important?
This is I don’t know, like the 13th video I think I’m making in this series. So if you watched any of my previous stuff, I think you know why normal blood sugars are so important. And so also, of course, whether you are either treating yourself or don’t have another option, but to eat at a restaurant, where it is more difficult to figure out what they have added to your meal, which you may not have added at home. Yes, healthy normal blood sugars. All diabetics are deserve them. All diabetics should strive for them. And we should not be content and happy with anything else but normal levels.
That’s my opinion. And I’m sticking to my guns. And that’s why I’m making all of these videos. And of course, why it is so important is of course that you have to, well, I assume if you’re anything like me, you want to live a long, happy, healthy life with diabetes, despite diabetes, thriving in your life. And then normal blood sugars will keep you there for longer. Let’s just keep that as at as a baseline.
I am very, very happy now because this wasn’t the case before. But healthier options at restaurants are becoming more available more readily available. Just things like for example, a big normally very pasta focused chain has recently brought out noodles as an option. And that is great, of course for us who are trying to mind our glucose and trying to mind the sugar intake in our foods. For example, there’s a lot more vegetables on the menus, there’s a lot more that you can get sauces on the side and no one looks at you weirdly, you can substitute a lot of the the sides with vegetables, and no one looks at you weirdly, and side salad is a huge thing, which you can also of course, when you are fueled by other things but sugar in your body, then you can have that too without a problem and not feel deprived or anything.
So there are three things: first of all, when you see go to a restaurant, that is important that is of course, as always, no matter where if you’re all at a restaurant, but focus on the protein and vegetables, which can be solved, they can be changed. All the pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, all of these things that you know, don’t leave you feeling your absolute best when you eat a restaurant, substitute them for different types of vegetables. Here is a great tip actually, that I found out a couple years ago is that when you look at a restaurant menu, and you see, let’s take an example, a sirloin with mashed potatoes. “okay, well, the mashed potatoes aren’t great for me, but I see here with the with the seven on this menu, you serve asparagus, do you think I could swap the mashed potatoes for these asparagus?”, for example. Check what they have on the menu in other dishes, and what type of vegetables they have there. And maybe you can find your favorite there or something that is at least better for you than mashed potatoes that are currently being offered. And of course, then number three is keep all or most sauces on the side. Make sure that you get the source in a little couple of sites so that you can first of all taste how much sugar there’s in there. Even if someone tells you that they’re Oh no, it’s completely sugar free, there’s no sugar, you can taste it very quickly. And you can make your choices after that.
Easy restaurants to go to when you are minding your sugar intake and you do not have the metabolic capability of breaking these things down as effectively as maybe other people do.
This includes but is not limited to, for example, steak houses, burger places. Seriously burgers without buns with all the good cheese and bacon and maybe an egg on top and a side salad, you’re going to be full four hours. When your friends who ate a normal burger menu starts going on about “I could go for like a coffee and cake”, you know, just fueling up again, you’ll still be full, “I am winning at this game”.
Also, Italian places are fantastic for low carb you wouldn’t think it but and very very little of the Italian cuisine is actually pasta, pizza, all these heavy things. It’s more like fresh meats, fish, seafood, and a lot of vegetables. Italians eat a lot of vegetables, and the yummy yummy olive oil, of course. And that is a great tip for if you are out and about and see an Italian restaurant, if it is authentic enough, and hasn’t zoomed in on the pizza thing, because then you can just scrape off the toppings, but it’s not a great experience for anyone. So let’s not go there!
You can also go to salad bars, that’s a given. Or deli places, maybe somewhere that makes sandwiches and you can ask to have the sandwich feelings on a salad or on a plate instead.
Brazilian steakhouses are fantastic. You won’t be lacking protein after going to a Brazilian steakhouse, I can assure you that. French places are great, not as much bread as you would think. And also Greek places are fantastic, all the Mediterranean really Greek, Italian, Spanish, of course with all the tapas, and it’s fantastic. And then of course Italian as I mentioned before.
Mexican is also surprisingly good, because there you can have things like fajitas without the bread and the beans and all this stuff and the rice. You can have all of these things that are really, really yummy that people don’t quite realize are yummy, because they cover it up with all these carby things so that they don’t actually get the flavor of the real thing, which is the protein of course.
Even sushi places actually are quite great for low carb because, and bear with me, you can have a few edamames and you can have a whole plate of sashimi, which is of course the sushi without the rice, so if you’re minding your sugar intake, don’t despair if you only have sushi place at hand. There’s always always things that you can do. And I’ve seen now actually sushi places who make rice out of cauliflower rice, there is one place for example in Stockholm. I think it’s spreading, too, and this trend of maybe not wanting sugary rice is becoming bigger.
Alright, I promised you my six top tips on how to manage restaurant but the restaurant visit with type 1 and wanting to keep your blood sugar’s at a normal level, because this is what we’re striving for.
As I said before, number one, if you can do research the menu online so that you want you know what you’re handling, you can already make a couple of choices, you can have an overview of what the actually have, you can check the starters, the mains, the deserts, but seriously don’t have too much hope for the desert, because you probably won’t find much apart from maybe a cheese platter, which also is a fantastic dessert. This also helps you if you are a bit conscious about your spending.
Number two, of course, stay away from the starches. If you get offered a bread basket and you know you can’t resist it, ask them to take it away. Make sure that your dish does not contain rice, pasta, potatoes, fries, or mashes if you know you can’t navigate around them. And I’m not saying that you always have to be 100% – you do what works for you. And if tasting a bit of these things works for you, then good, keep doing that. But if you know that you can’t keep away from them, make sure you stop them from the beginning.
Number three, which I already mentioned in the beginning, but it’s very, very important: focus on the protein and the vegetables. That is the easiest thing that you can do. Even at a restaurant or at home or anywhere you are. If you’ve been invited to a dinner somewhere at a friend’s place, that is sometimes a little bit tricky. But always focus on the protein and the vegetables, and then don’t pay so much attention to the things that you can’t have. Of course, this is as much a mind game for you as anyone else. Instead, pay attention to things that you can have. Take it as a positive thing that you are doing something good for you, your body and your health. Because you want to stay healthy for as long as you of course, possibly can.
Number four, which is something I struggled with a lot. In the beginning, when I first went low carb, I’m often said, “oh, it’s okay. Don’t worry. Just bring this and this and whatever else. Like, take everything out of it. It’s fine!” No, no, no, actually, the proper way of doing it is Dare. To. Ask., make sure that you do find the option that works the best for you. Because no one else is going to be looking out for you. Dare to ask “what do you put in that sauce?” “Oh, is this gluten free?” (If gluten is a problem for you.) “Oh, is this sugar free?” Waitstaff should know this. If they don’t, they are very welcome to run back to the kitchen and check with their colleagues. It’s really important for you to know what the food that you eat actually contains. “Oh, is this thing breaded?” “Do you have bread crumbs in your Parmesan Melanzane?” There are so many ways of cooking food that should be “free food”. Not everyone does it the same way. Dare to ask. As I mentioned before, if you see a vegetable in some other dish, maybe you know they’re willing to swap that for the thing that you don’t want in the dish that you want, or with the protein that you have chosen. Dare to ask what’s in your food. How can you swap it? What can you do to make this work for you? At the end of the day at a restaurant, you are a paying customer and they generally would very much want happy, healthy customers that keep talking about their wonderful establishment and the fantastic service that they got. They will very rarely rarely be snarky about your dietary restrictions, because they want repeat customers too.
Alright, number five, you know what, if it doesn’t go perfectly fine, if something goes wrong, like you have a glass of wine too many than you expected, or if you’re eating a bit more of the starch than you expected – just don’t panic. It’s alright. You’re not going to die from screwing it up once, but it is a learning curve. So don’t panic, make sure that you remember it so that you know next time what not to do and what didn’t work for you. Work with the things that do work for you, and what you leaves you feeling the healthiest, best version of yourself.
And then number six, which is actually something that I did for myself, in the beginning. Now it’s just second nature, but in the beginning, I made every restaurant menu a game for myself. Everywhere I went, whether it was Chinese, (that is a tricky one, though, because they mix everything in sauces), or a pizza place, or Italian or burgers or whatever. Wherever I saw a menu, I made it into a game for myself to make a nourishing, sustainable dish for myself from any menu. That is my tip number six, make it a game. Oh, what can I eat at this restaurant? Uh huh. Okay, but if I swap that, with that, and then, instead of that I have that, and then I get a meal that works for me and leaves me healthy, happy and feeling fantastic. Even after my restaurant visit.
Those were my quick tips for you. Actually, let’s call it the little guide of eating at restaurants with Type 1 Diabetes. I hope you have enjoyed this video!
I want to know from you what your best restaurant tips are with type 1, or even without. If you’re just minding your sugar intake, what are the best tips that you have figured out they’ve seen someone else do that you’ve heard someone else do?
Share them with me in a comment and I’ll be happy to chat with you. Until next time!