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Dining Out With Diabetes

In the real world, people with diabetes aren’t going to be eating at home and preparing their own meals everyday. Dining out at restaurants is part of American culture. By planning ahead and ordering wisely, you can have an enjoyable dining experience with diabetes.

Planning Ahead

  • Choose a restaurant with a large menu of healthy items.  Many chains have nutritional information available online.
  • Call restaurant ahead of time and ask if they can handle special requests.
  • Ask your dinner companions to eat at the time you normally eat, but don’t worry if you have to eat earlier or later.
  • Have a small snack before going to a restaurant, so you aren’t too hungry.

Tips on Ordering Meals with Diabetes

  • If you are not sure how a food is prepared, ask your server.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Order an appetizer for a main course, split an entrée, or eat half and take the rest home.
  • Ask for substitutions. For example, get vegetables instead of french fries.
  • Avoid breaded or fried foods, or foods in heavy sauces. Try fish or poultry that is grilled or boiled, without butter.
  • Ask for salad dressing and sauces on the side.
  • Limit alcohol to one serving.
  • Be careful of all-you-can-eat restaurants. If you do eat at a buffet, try to fill up on vegetable dishes.

“Choose foods that you really like,” advises Nora Saul, M.S, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E, Joslin Clinic. “Decide if it is really good and worth it, and if it is, make accommodations.  If a place has very good bread, maybe have a roll, but skip the potato. If you like sweets, share a dessert with a few other people, and take a walk afterwards. Remember, dining out is also a social experience - concentrate on sharing time with family and friends.”

To learn more about how to incorpoate dining out into your diabetes meal plan, make an appointment with a Joslin dietitian by calling (617) 732-2400.

The Calorie King Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter includes menu offerings of 200 chain and fast food restaurants - and the calorie, carb and fat content of each item.

Click here, to purchase this book from the Joslin Store.

Page last updated: November 07, 2019