This week I received the following question from ….

I attend a monthly book club with friends that includes a dinner potluck in which everyone contributes a dish.  I have type 2 diabetes and I struggle with what to eat at the potluck.  Could you offer me some tips?

I love potlucks. You often get a wide variety of recipes to try, and possibly some to add to your own repertoire if people share their secrets. It can, however, be unpredictable when it comes to carb counting and monitoring your blood sugar. Fortunately there are several ways you and your palate can still enjoy yourselves and not let it show in your blood sugar levels. It just takes a little planning and forethought.

 Eat a little something before you go to the potluck. This seems counterproductive, but it may spare you from being tempted to dive into some carb heavy choices you may otherwise couldn’t resist.

Be a trendsetter. Bring veggie trays and light salads that you know you can enjoy guilt-free, and others can too. By setting an example you might see more healthy choices the next time around.

Go for grains. Anything you see that has more whole grain, whole wheat ingredients rather than refined sugars means more fiber. If you don’t see much in way of fiber, this is where you can again be a trendsetter.

Examine your plate. You take a little of this, and a little of that, but what is the biggest portion on your plate? It should be non-starchy vegetables, such as a salad.

Be sociable. Visiting is a great way to slow down your eating, which gives you time to feel full when you are actually full. If you allow the hungry beast within after a long day take over, you will eat faster and more of it.  This is where eating a little bit at home first can again help.

If you are dying for dessert, make room. They are understandably tempting, especially at a potluck. If you got to have it, that is okay, just keep it in mind when eating your meal. Make room for it in your carb selections so that you do not exceed  2-3 servings if you are female, or 3-4 servings if you are male.

Last but not least, have fun! You may discover you are not the only one that is diet conscious, and you may find someone to share new diabetes-friendly recipes with.