2013-07-26 11:25:13 by Public Relations staff, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.
Photo by Alex E. Proimos / Flickr
Whether it’s the local pizza joint after a game, the food court at the mall, or a barbeque at a friend’s house, eating out is part of nearly every social scene.
Your child doesn’t have to miss out because she has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. She just has to take extra precautions and choose nutritious foods in reasonable portions.
Which restaurants to visit
Kids with diabetes can eat just about anywhere. Most restaurants offer at least some nutritious foods — even fast-food places. Many national chains even have standardized food content and portion sizes.
Whenever possible, look for the nutrition facts on the menu or ask your server for them so you know what's in the food.
Restaurants that serve a greater variety of healthier foods, like salads and vegetarian entrees, generally have more foods that fit the meal plan for people with diabetes.
Photo by avlxyz / Flickr
Certain types of restaurants like buffets may offer a lot of choices, but they tend to make it difficult to gauge the content of foods. It may also be more difficult to eat reasonable portion sizes at these restaurants.
When choosing a restaurant, consider what your child wants to eat and which places offer the most suitable options. You don't have to find a place that serves "health food" — just the mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that work with your child's meal plan.
You can even check out menus online when you're looking for healthy dining ideas.
What to order
When it's time to order, your child should follow the same rules for food content and portion sizes that he follows at home. Your child's meal plan probably calls for a good balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Usually, kids can get all the types of food they need at a restaurant. These tips can help:
Photo by Sean Dreilinger / CC Flickr
Remind your child that the same tips apply to eating in the school cafeteria or a friend's house.
If your child becomes upset or sad because she can't eat something unhealthy on the menu, explain that all healthy people have to watch what they eat — including you — so kids with diabetes certainly aren't alone.
What to bring
When you go out to eat, bring your child's testing supplies, snacks and medications. You might also bring a quick-reference guide to food content and portions in your wallet or purse.
If your child uses things like artificial sweeteners or fat-free spreads, bring them along, too.
Eating later than usual poses no problem to a child who takes a rapid-acting insulin with meals. In most cases, you can make a few simple adjustments to your child's medicine schedule.
Kids on NPH insulin who delay mealtime may have to eat a small snack at the normal mealtime, and then take insulin while out.
By helping your child through the process and setting an example of healthy eating in moderation, you'll teach skills that will last.
© 2013. Article adapted from The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Used under license.
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