Living in NYC and traveling a ton for work and pleasure, I was excited to figure out how I could actually enjoy eating out/ trying new foods but not have a high blood sugar as a result.
In my almost 20 years of living with T1D I’ve had my hand full of nights eating out, going to bed at 120, only to be woken up at 3am with a blood sugar of 300. Ughhhh (some of you might know the feeling!)
When I was 18-20 I decided it would be easier to just skip the pizza, doughnuts, cookies, and fries all together. I thought I was being a “good diabetic” by doing so. And that it would just be easier to eliminate the problem. Problem was that I was depriving myself of the social enjoyment that came from sharing a meal with my family/friends and always having to eat before/ stay in/ choose a salad.
None of these things are wrong if mentally they don’t bother you. But I see this same scenario time and time again from my clients where they “master” the numbers, but the mental relationship with food (*WHICH IS PART OF FEELING HEALTHY*) suffers.
I find SO much freedom now in being able to eat nutrient dense, low glycemic foods 90% of the time, and for the 10% that I want to eat out and have something I wouldn’t on a daily basis, I can….AND have confidence that I won’t spike afterwards.
So let’s break this down, shall we?
Why do we often see a spike 2-6 hours after eating out?
There could be several reasons for this, however the big one that you should know is because most of the foods you’re eating when you’re out are higher carb AND higher fat than what you normally are eating when you’re in control cooking at home. The fat content delays the spike of the carbs until hours later, and also might give you a challenge coming down when you try to eventually correct that high.
NOW MOVING ONTO THE SOLUTION. HERE ARE MY TOP 3 TIPS TO HELP YOU EAT OUT AND NOT HAVE A HIGH BLOOD SUGAR AFTER:
1. After you eat “x” food, walk walk walk! For at least 20 minutes. Bonus points if you can get some hilly streets in. If you’re traveling and in a new city, skip the uber and explore the city back to your hotel/air bnb by foot.
2. If you are on a pump, try increasing your temp basal rate somewhere between 20-50% for the next 2-5 hours after eating (you’ll have to play around a bit with this to find your sweet spot). For shots, this is where splitting long acting insulin can come in handy!
3. If you know you’ll be eating out and indulging in those high carb/high fat foods that day or evening, make sure to get a work out in before. A solid 20-45 minute workout will increase your sensitivity and help the insulin take the sugar out of the blood faster later on. I usually train legs/ cardio on these days since your lower body muscles are bigger and will help move the glucose out faster!
Without doing these 3 things, there is nooo way I’d be able to get away with eating out as much as I do!
Try these out and let me know if you have some success!