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May 5, 2009 06:06 AM

Diabetic-Friendly Restaurants?

My mother was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and I've been told I'm extremely high-risk. I'm working on improving my diet, but I love food and eating out, so it's rough. I'm wondering if there are any diabetic-friendly restaurants in the area that I should be considering (the "area" being Bordentown, Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Princeton and Pennington, mainly). I'm looking for all types, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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  1. I've not found any restaurants that specifically cater to diabetics, but this does not mean dining out is not an option. Being diabetic does not mean that one must militantly avoid all carbohydrates, but that they be taken in moderation.

    After following the regimen for a while one becomes pretty adept at determining the carb content of most foods and whether those carbs are simple or complex.

    For instance, in an Italian place you have to go very lightly on the bread, rice and pasta (Like I said, you aren't trying to totally eliminate carbs), and lean more to grilled or sauteed meats and seafood. Learn which veggies are starchy suck as corn, peas and of course potatoes, Vs green beans, carrots and cruciferous veggies (cabbage, brocolli, cabbag, etc). Salads can be a good item provided they aren't dressed with overly sweet dressings.

    Dessert? Well, I hope you don't have a sweet tooth. A spoon or two of a companions dessert will have to suffice.

    Go lightly on the sauces.

    Fruits can be problematic. Many melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe are OK, but peaches, pears and most dried fruits are pretty high in Sugar. Avoid eating more than a dozen grapes in a sitting.

    Many Thai foods are good, but you have to beware the noodles and rice. Much Mediterranean food is also acceptable (Again, go sparingly on the rice). Chinese can be hard as they use a lot of noodles, rice and starchy sauces.

    Again, lean towards grilled and sauteed meats and seafood, non starchy veggies and obviously avoid sweetened beverages.

    As you become familiar with the nutritional content of various ingredients, managing your diet will become second nature. You do npt have to totally avoid the "bad" foods, just be very conscious of them and limit their consumption.

    1 Reply
    1. re: equal_Mark

      Thanks for the rundown, equal_Mark! I haven't had a chance to go out and buy some books on this yet. And unfortunately, I have a massive sweet tooth! I've been making small improvements to my diet for some time, but it's when I go out to eat that I run into trouble.

      I guess I should clarify: I'm not looking for restaurants that necessarily cater to diabetics - just ones that have a lot of options that are something a diabetic could eat. Of course, given the western diet... Like, I'm assuming a steak house would have a lot of choices if you avoided some of the more decadent dishes. For example, Charlie Brown's - with its salad bar and grilled meat options - actually seems like it might be my safest bet out of the chain restaurants.

    2. i am not diabetic, but when i am trying to watch what i eat, i always go for steamed veggies and tofu (or shrimp, or chicken) from any Chinese restaurant. i always ask for brown sauce on the side, for dipping. low fat, low carb, low sodium, and tastes great (to me, at least).

      3 Replies
      1. re: njchowgal

        A lot of ethnic places do very well at offering low carb, even vegetarian selections (I realize meat really is'nt the issue here, but what the hey!)

        Two places that have gotten a lot of mentions here recently are Nikos And Diaz's Flavor. Nikos has a bunch of really good sounding seafood and meat dishes. Diaz does not have as great a selection but still has a lot of choices

        1. re: njchowgal

          Am type 2 diabetic, and have to second the sauce-on-the-side plan. Many salad dressings and sauces are surprisingly high in carbs, and those that aren't, are high in fat - when it's on the side, you can portion it out for yourself.
          I don't have any suggestions for specific restaurants, but I do tend to find meat-centric restaurants easiest to eat out in without checking the menu first. Most important, probably, is an understanding of what foods are preferable for you and looking at the menu beforehand!

          1. re: kilercow

            This as well as a vision problem that often makes it hard for me to red menus (Especially the ones with phone book fonts in dark dining rooms) is why I make extensive use of restaurant web sites, and have been scanning menus for places without them. I can get a good idea of what's available, and often just like to peruse them. Of course I've collected menus for years...