5 Tips For Eating Out With Diabetes

Get out, let your hair down, and eat to your heart's content.


Eating out is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you’re en route to your favorite restaurant for a family birthday gathering, or you’ve been invited out for a romantic dinner, eating out is undeniably a treat.

Sadly, dining out can also be a source of trouble; there are often hidden calories and sugar in sauces and dishes. This can turn a simple dining out meal into a health hazard for individuals with diabetes, rendering a simple night of fun a source of serious stress.

How to Eat Out Effectively

Fortunately, there are simple strategies you can employ to make your dining out experience stress-free and enjoyable. They take a little bit of assertiveness but are quick and easy to do.

#1. Choose Multiple Eating Options

When you arrive at the restaurant and browse the menu, choose 2-4 dishes you find appealing. This will give you more wiggle room to determine what you’d like to eat once you determine the items’ nutrition facts. Having multiple options will make the ordering process faster and easier and will take the spotlight off of you and your condition.

#2. Enlist the Help of Your Waiter

Once you have made your food choices, ask your waiter for the nutrition information for each of your chosen dishes. From there, you can determine which dish is least likely to negatively impact your blood sugar, or you can determine how much you will need to compensate with insulin or other medications later.

#3. Eat Small Portions

Instead of gorging yourself on your chosen dishes, eat only ½ or ¾ of your food and save the rest for later. This will cut down on the amount of processed, sugary foods you eat in one sitting and will provide a meal for another day.

#4. Make Wise Drink Choices

If you are eating out, try to limit your empty drink calories. Instead of having a few glasses of soda, opt for a single glass of lemonade or a glass of soda followed by a glass of water. If you are drinking alcohol, limit yourself to one drink and follow that drink with a decent intake of water.

#5. Avoid the Bread Basket

Many restaurants have complimentary bread baskets at the start of the meal to hold people over until their food has arrived. Politely decline the offer of a basket or refrain from eating more than one roll or breadstick. This will keep your calorie intake under control and give you more freedom in your meal choices.

Eating out with diabetes doesn’t have to be a hassle. Using some simple, effective strategies, your next dining experience can be fun, easy, and stress-free.


Everyday Health. Accessed 5/31/17.
Joslin Diabetes Center. Accessed 5/31/17.
WebMD. Accessed 5/31/17.

Corrina Horne-Castro is a freelance writer, as well as a yoga instructor, wife, and mother, with a passion for helping others achieve optimal health and wellness.