For many seniors, it is still a treat to eat out with family and friends.
That “treat” can bring with it a challenge, though.
Some seniors may find it difficult to choose the healthiest food from the menu when they eat out because they are trying to manage a chronic disease, such as diabetes.
Tips for Healthier Dining Out
We don’t want to stop eating out but need to make a few changes when we do to manage our health and diabetes.
If your senior — or you — is battling diabetes and trying to manage meals when eating out, these tips from the American Diabetes Association will help narrow the choices from a huge menu.
- Ask what is in a dish and how it is prepared; ask them to make it without extra butter, sugar or salt to manage your senior’s individual diet
- Request a smaller portion or put part of the meal in a doggy bag before you begin eating
- Skip the high fat dressings and toppings or ask for it on the side and dip greens instead of pouring it on
- Select items that aren’t fried or breaded
- Ask for substitutions of the high-fat side items with healthier options like fresh vegetables
- If you don’t see lower calorie items on the menu, ask for them because they are usually available
- Watch how much alcohol you drink, as it will impact your blood sugar
Eat for Health
The US Department of Agriculture has adopted a way to help us all make healthy food choices whether we have a chronic disease like diabetes or just trying to avoid it.
It is called MyPlate and you may have seen the icon and information on food packages.
MyPlate suggestions are based on age and have specific information for seniors.
Their tips include:
- Build a healthy plate using the MyPlate as a guide. Include all types of foods each day (and preferably at each meal) — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy and protein foods.
- Cut back on foods that are high in solid fat or added sugar or salt.
- Eat the right amount of calories for you to help manage your weight. You can do this by cutting back on portion sizes, not the variety of foods you choose, to manage weight while maintaining your health.
The American Diabetes Association version of MyPlate is called Create Your Plate. They encourage us to add lean protein on 1/4 of the plate, grains and starchy foods on 1/4 of the plate and non-starchy vegetables on 1/2 the plate. Add in a low calorie drink and a serving of fruit or dairy as a dessert to help keep your meal balanced and nutrient rich.
Managing portions in this way will help with weight management too!
Here are a few articles about diabetes and nutrition for seniors that you might like to read: