A Diabetic's Guide to Restaurant Menus

A Diabetic's Guide to Restaurant Menus

Being a diabetic can be challenging and put a strain on your daily life. But just because you have to be careful about what you eat, doesn’t mean that you still can’t go out and enjoy delicious meals at restaurants. All it takes is a little extra caution and vigilance about what you can and cannot eat — and going to a restaurant armed with all the necessary knowledge can ensure that you won’t encounter obstacles that might cause anything to go out of whack with your blood sugar. If you want to know more about foods that diabetics should be sure to watch out for in restaurant meals, check out the list below. It contains ten ingredients that people often overlook when making sure their meal is diabetic-friendly.

1. Battered

People often think the word “battered” means beaten up. But when you see it on the menu, it’s something you’ll want to avoid. Battered foods have been dipped in a liquid and grain mixture before they being cooked – often some combination of beer, milk, cream or flour. Battered foods have a high amount of carbohydrates, and they can be a hidden source of sugar in otherwise savory foods.

2. Salad Dressing

Salads are often a healthy choice on a restaurant menu, but make sure you don’t get salad dressings mixed into your salad. Opt for oil and vinegar, delicious and less-sweet options to flavor your salad. Pre-made salad dressings often have a ton of sugar – often in the form of corn syrup – even if they don't taste sweet.

3. Barbecue Sauce

It’s always really delicious, but barbecue sauce on meat is always very high in sugar content. What gives barbecue that sweet tang is often corn syrup of molasses, so it’s a smart thing to steer clear of when ordering from a restaurant menu.

4. Stuffed

Stuffed foods nearly always have bread crumbs in their stuffing. If you see an item on the menu that’s stuffed and are interested in ordering it, make sure you ask you server what kind of stuffing it is. If it’s not vegetable or dairy, it nearly always has lots of carbohydrates in it.

5. Fat-free or Gluten-free

It’s counter-intuitive because it sounds like fat-free and gluten-free items would be healthier, but these meals usually have a higher sugar content to make them taste more delicious.

6. Ketchup

Ketchup is often thought of as a salty condiment for salty foods. But in actuality, ketchup is packed with sugar or corn syrup. If something on a menu incorporates ketchup, be sure to request the item without ketchup – and avoid using it as an added-on condiment.

7. Tempura or Fried

Tempura is the Japanese frying batter – and tempura menu items are loaded with carbs. So, you’ll want to steer clear of tempura foods to avoid extra carbohydrates. You should also always avoid fried foods since the fat content and amount of calories from frying something is just simply unhealthy. Find out if you can get a fried dish on the menu baked or sauteed in water instead of fried in oil. 

8. Reduction

A reduction is a culinary term that refers to a liquid that has been thickened or its flavor intensified with heat. Reductions are often extremely sweet, with wine or whiskey incorporated into them. Many restaurants also add sugar to reductions, so even if they accompany healthy meals (they often do), it’s best not to order them.

9. Glazed

When something on the menu is glazed, it means that it is coated in another substance – nearly always something sugar or syrup based. Glazes usually incorporated butter, sugar, milk, and oil – so you’ll want to make sure that you avoid them to avoid excess sugar.

10. Duck Sauce or Soy Sauce

Asian food is often savory and salty in flavor. But if you see something on a menu that is coated in duck sauce or soy sauce, ask for no sauce or the sauce on the side. Duck sauce is made of fruits as well as sugar and vinegar, so it’s often very sweet. You should also try to avoid soy sauce because its salt content is extremely high, and it is not good for your blood pressure or your hydration level.