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Dining Out with Diabetes

Yes, it’s possible!

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Like most Americans, you’ll likely eat out — at least once in a while! But there isn’t a universal diabetic meal plan. So how do you know what to order and when to eat? For those with diabetes, eating the right foods helps keep your blood sugar in your target range and provides needed nutrients — all critical parts of controlling your condition. Meal planning can help you get the nutrients you need from the right foods.

Successful diabetic meal planning needs to fit your lifestyle. Try these five tips to help you stick to your healthy eating plan:

  1. Know what's on the menu.
    Talk to your server before you order a meal. Ask questions about the food and how it’s prepared. Be open about your diabetic-friendly meal requirements to avoid eating a meal with will negatively affect you.
  2. Eat at the same time you usually do.
    If you take insulin shots or diabetes pills, plan to eat around the same time every day.
    • Schedule dining plans close to your normal eating times.
    • Make reservations so you won't have to wait.
  3. If you can’t make reservations, bring a snack in case you have to wait. Staying away from busy times may help.

  4. 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.
  5. Speak up.
    Ask for substitutions if you need to. For example, order veggies instead of fries. Or ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
  6. Stay prepared.
    Don’t forget to bring your testing supplies, medicines and snacks with you to the restaurant (plus anything else you need to control your blood sugar).

By Katie Lajiness, Contributing Writer


American Diabetes Association. Dining on time. Accessed July 10, 2019.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2019. Diabetes Care. Accessed July 10, 2019.

Updated  July 10, 2019