From the monthly archives:

January 2010

I go out often for social engagements, both for our work as well as with friends and family. My blood sugars are generally under control, but I find it difficult to stay on track when I am out. Do you have any suggestions?

Sticking to your food plan outside of your home environment involves one cardinal rule that you need to follow religiously: Take Care of Yourself. You don’t have to eat Aunt Mary’s birthday cake to make her happy, you don’t have to eat the white dinner rolls just because the waiter brought them to the table, and you CAN ask what is in the sauce on the salmon and request that it be brought on the side. Here are some tips to help you navigate social eating.
Before going to a restaurant or social function make sure to eat something so that you don’t arrive starving and ready to dive into the bread basket or appetizer tray. If you are pressed for time, try some hummus and vegetables or a cup of hearty lentil soup.
If you are invited to a family member’s home for dinner or a party, everyone appreciates an offer of a wonderful addition to what they are serving. I always bring one thing that I know I will be able to eat and that everyone else will really enjoy. It depends on the event. For dinners, I usually bring a vegetable dish like delicious brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and pecans or for a buffet I love to bring a beautiful array of grilled or roasted vegetables
Ask for What You Need: At restaurants, the bread basket can be a major minefield that takes real resolve to avoid. If you are feeling tempted, when the waiter is getting drink orders, ask to have a salad or soup brought out right away so that you have something to eat while others are eating bread. Also, when you order your meal, even if it comes with a starch that you don’t want, you can ask to have extra vegetables in its place. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking questions or making requests. Today, so many people have special food requirements, and restaurants want to keep their customers happy.
Enjoy Your Own Sweet Indulgence: Desserts are tempting, but with some strategies in place you can take care of yourself without feeling deprived. First and foremost, go back to tip #1 and make sure you have eaten well the day of an event. That way your blood sugars won’t be all over the place and you will be less likely to be craving sweets. The best way to avoid eating desserts that are loaded with sugar is to have a sweet indulgence of your own that you can enjoy. For example, I always carry a few pieces of high quality dark chocolate in my purse for just such occasions. When it is time for dessert, you can have some tea or coffee and enjoy your sweet along with everyone else. It’s fine to have a bite or two of whatever else is being offered, but with your own treat in hand, you won’t feel deprived, and you will be much less likely to eat an amount that will wreak havoc on your blood sugars.
Get enough rest and keep up your exercise: When you are tired, your body compensates and you begin to crave more carbohydrates, especially bread, cookies and sweets to keep your energy up. So make sure that you are treating your body well by giving it the rest it needs. Although, you may have a hectic social calendar, remember not to give up your exercise routine. If necessary, pencil exercise time into your calendar, like any other appointment. You will have more energy, less cravings and you will find that you are able to make better choices and stay on track more easily.
Start to think outside the box and let go of worrying what everyone else will think. Remember, it’s your life, and no one will take care of it but you. The best advice I can give is to be prepared, remember that food is only a part of any social occasion, and above all, enjoy the company of friends and family.

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