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Eating out with an insulin pump

Enjoy food on your own terms

Eating out with an insulin pump

Imagine what it would be like to dive into a meal without having to give yourself an injection. When you're a pumper, you have freedom to enjoy food on your terms, wherever and whenever—with just the touch of a button.


That being said, smart food choices are important for a healthy lifestyle. Eating at a restaurant can be fun, but it can also ruin your meal plan, and play havoc with your blood glucose levels. It’s important to read the menu carefully and choose foods that are healthy when you incorporate restaurant foods into your plan. You may also be advised by your healthcare team to adjust your insulin for restaurant meals to keep your immediate post-meal (post prandial) blood sugar in target.


Work with your healthcare team to find a meal plan that is right for you. This can help you identify safe limits for nutrients such as calories, carbohydrates, fat, cholesterol and sodium.


Make smart menu choices

Learn how to read the menu to look for healthy choices. Often, restaurants will have detailed nutritional information on hand, or on their website. Ask to see a menu while you are waiting for a table to allow extra time to read through the menu to plan your food choices. And remember, never skip a meal or go out hungry, as that can sabotage your best intentions.


Choosing wisely from restaurant menus

Here are some tips to keep in mind when ordering food.


1. Ask!

Ask if you are not sure what is in a dish or how it is prepared. Because you may never put butter on your pancakes at home, you may forget that pancakes at a restaurant may come served with a large dollop of butter on them.


Ask the server not to bring chips and dip, crackers or bread before or with the meal. If you would like an appetizer, ask for a broth-based soup or a dinner salad with the dressing on the side.


2. A few little changes make a big difference

  • Ask for your meat to be roasted, baked, broiled or grilled without the addition of extra fat.
  • Avoid fried or breaded selections. Go for raw, stewed, steamed or boiled vegetables.
  • Ask for an extra portion of veggies and skip something else that may be too much starch, for example: "Double veggies, hold the linguine."
  • Ask for all gravy, sauce and salad dressing "on the side" so you can use a limited amount.
  • Ask if they have low-calorie options. For example, top your baked potato, pasta, or rice with low-calorie sour cream or low-fat spreads.


3. Smaller choices are just as tasty

Only eat half of the meal and take the rest home to enjoy the next day, or ask for an extra plate so you can share the entrée with your dining partner. Request a "lunch portion" or a "senior portion", which is usually smaller.


4. Salads and salad bars

Salads and salad bars can be good choices, but watch out for items already prepared with sauces, such as potato or macaroni salad and syrups on fruit. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables and low-calorie dressings. Be careful with additions like bacon bits and sunflower seeds that will add extra calories quickly.


5. Drinks and desserts

  • Don't drink your calories. Try low-fat or fat-free milk, sugar-free soda and unsweetened tea or coffee.
  • For dessert, ask for healthy choices such as: fresh fruit, fat-free or low-fat yogurt or ice cream. You can even save that fresh warm dinner roll for your dessert with sugar-free jam.


6. Fast food

When choosing items at a fast-food restaurant, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you are having one fast-food meal during the day, make sure your other meals contain healthy fruits and vegetables and other low-fat foods.
  • Even though they are a "good deal", avoid portions like jumbo, giant, deluxe, biggie-sized, or super-sized. Large portion sizes add extra fat and calories.
  • Eat your sandwich on a whole wheat bun, bread or English muffin rather than a croissant or biscuit which is higher in fat.
  • Avoid double burgers or those with added cheese, bacon and sauces.


7. Get moving!

Don't forget the other important balancing act you can do: Move! After the meal, go for a walk, do some gardening, or even go shopping to burn off some of those extra calories.


The information made available on the Animas website is not intended to be used or viewed as a substitute for consultation with a healthcare professional. The information provided on this site cannot be the basis for diagnosis or therapy. You are advised to obtain professional advice and should always discuss your treatment plan with your health care team.