A Diabetes Guide to Eating in Restaurants

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 Eat Out Eat Well - A Diabetes Guide to Eating in RestaurantsThe American Diabetes Association recently published a new book by Hope S. Warshaw called Eat Out, Eat Well, The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant. Ms. Warshaw is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and has written many other books on the subject of eating with diabetes, including a book similar this one. Eat Out, Eat Well, however, is a more comprehensive and updated version of her previous work.

What The Little Brown Handbook is to writers, this book may be for those with diabetes who eat out often and feel they lack information about the food they are eating. Eat Out, Eat Well serves those looking for hefty coverage of nutrition and how it relates to diabetes, and any type of restaurant eating, from fast food to ethnic cuisines to the upscale restaurant.

Eat Out, Eat Well isn’t a book you will sit down to read and be done with. At over 550 pages, it is a large resource that you’re likely to spot read and refer to as needed. Warshaw starts with giving a modern assessment of today’s restaurant landscape. One of the most helpful things I found in the book was a chapter on “The 10 Skills and Strategies for Healthier Restaurant Eating” where she targets common behaviors we all have and suggests ways we can set ourselves up for success when we do eat out. Those ten tips alone would make an enormous difference for anyone who eats out often. There is a chapter on specific dilemmas a person with diabetes may have when eating out and tips on how to cope. Warshaw has also written a chapter on the subject of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Hope Warshaw
Hope Warshaw

I’m someone who has studied nutrition and I’ve had diabetes for many years. I find that eating out is generally not conducive to healthy eating. However, when looking at this book I had to recognize that most people do not follow a strict diet like mine, and not that long ago, neither did I. I’m a strong believer in meeting people where they are in their journey. Some do not want to give up fast food but may be open to suggestions regarding what may be the healthiest fast food choice. Others truly enjoy eating out several meals a week , and want to make the best choices overall. Some might feel their meal choices are fine but they sink themselves with drink choices. This book includes a lot of information on non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. This is nothing to make little of. It may be shocking to you, but many people don’t know what to eat or drink, or how much. I lived that way for a long time.

You can only imagine my pleasant surprise when I recently noticed a man reading Eat Out, Eat Well at my local library. I couldn’t resist asking him if he had diabetes and why he was reading this book. He said, “I was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago and I’m in a routine concerning my testing and medications, but my wife keeps telling me I really should look into my food now that I got the other bit down. I like to eat out so this book really appeals to me.” I asked him which information he found particularly helpful. “Well, I like all the little tips and tricks I can do at a restaurant to make it a healthier experience for me. To be honest, I’ve learned that I eat a lot more junk than I ever thought I did. But I just didn’t know.”

Eat Out, Eat Well contains nutrition data on the best and worst menu options for each type of restaurant/cuisine, and this serves as a steady guide. I took the book with me to a sushi restaurant and found information pertaining to sushi and Japanese cuisine, and I did appreciate seeing suggestions for healthier options at a non-chain restaurant. I’ve heard people in the diabetes community say they think restaurants should be required to post the nutrition facts for everything served. I agree that would be helpful, but in the meantime we can educate ourselves with resources like this one, with updated information that provides all the modern day eating out data we need.

Restaurant NameDish NameServing SizeCarbs
StarbucksSalted Carmel Mocha16 oz.66
Wendy’sSpicy Guacamole Chicken Club Sandwich1 sandwich58
Chevy’sTostada Salad without Dressing with Steak1 Salad91
Pizza Hut14″ Large Stuffed Crust – Meat Lover’s1 Slice39
Pei Wei Asian DinerVegetables & Tofu1 Portion74
Zoe’s KitchenChicken Kabob Dinner1 Portion89

Eating Out Eating Well AppIn summary, if you have diabetes and like to eat out, but feel clueless about what is in your food and what it means for your health and your blood sugars, then here is a good resource for you. Eat Out, Eat Well isn’t judgmental. It’s goal is not to make you feel bad about what you’re eating, but rather to give you the tools you need to make better food choices.

*Good news for those who enjoy apps: a companion app, Eat Out WellRestaurant Nutrition Finder from the American Diabetes Association, is available free from Google play and iTunes. The app, which is guided by GPS, allows users to search the nutrition information for hundreds of independent and chain restaurants based on their current location. Users may also receive information by entering a zip code. Extra features include the ability to save favorite menu items and healthy restaurant eating tips for the fifteen types of cuisines covered in the book.

Eat Out, Eat Well is available on Amazon.

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Denise

love it! great idea and could use this. I never know what to eat and am always guessing on how much carbs are in the food so always opting for salad – so BORING!!!

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