Diabetes | Healthy Dining Out With Diabetes Skip to Main Content
Menu

Health Library

Health Topics

Healthy Dining Out with Diabetes

Yes, it’s possible!

person pouring olive oil on plate of salad

Preparing your own meals is a great way to stick to your diabetes-friendly diet. Realistically though, you probably won’t feel like cooking for yourself every day. Like most Americans, you’ll likely eat out — at least once in awhile!

Dining out doesn’t have to be tough if you have diabetes, and it doesn’t have to be off-limits. With a bit of planning and some smart choices, you can eat out without worry.

Healthy eating is important for everyone, and an eating plan for people with diabetes should be appropriate for most people. For people with diabetes, eating the right foods helps keep your blood sugar in your target range and provides needed nutrients — all critical parts of managing your condition. Individual meal planning can help you get the nutrients you need from the right foods.

That’s why it’s important that you stick to your healthy eating plan. Try these five tips to do just that:

  1. Know what's on the menu.
    Many restaurants post menus online. If one doesn’t, call the restaurant and ask if they can accommodate your needs. If they can't, choose another place where you can more easily follow your eating plan.
  2. Eat at the same time you usually do.
    If you take insulin shots or diabetes pills, you need to eat about the same time every day.
    • Schedule dining plans close to your normal eating times.
    • Make reservations so you won't have to wait.
    • If you can’t make reservations, bring a snack in case you have to wait. Avoiding high volume times may help.
  3. Watch portion sizes.
    Many restaurants serve large portions. Try ordering an appetizer for your main course, or splitting an entrée with someone. Or you can eat half of your meal and take the rest home.
  4. Be vocal.
    Ask for substitutions if you need to. For example, order veggies instead of fries. Or ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
  5. Stay prepared.
    Don’t forget to bring your testing supplies, medications and snacks with you to the restaurant (plus anything else you need to manage your blood sugar).

By Lucy M. Casale, Contributing Writer

Sources
American Diabetes Association. Dining on time. Accessed: September 28, 2015.
Joslin Diabetes Center. Dining out with diabetes. Accessed: September 28, 2015.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2015. Diabetes Care. 2015; 38,1:S28. Accessed: September 28, 2015.

Last Updated: September 30, 2015