Eating Out When You Have Diabetes

Eating right is an important part of keeping your blood sugar in your target range. You just need to make healthy choices.

Man and woman sitting in restaurant eating salads.

Tips for restaurant meals

When you eat away from home try these tips:

  • Try to schedule your dining-out meal at your normal meal time. Make a reservation if possible, so you don’t have to wait to eat. If you can’t make a reservation, try to arrive at the restaurant at a less-busy time to cut down your wait time. Eat a small fruit or starch snack at your regular mealtime if your restaurant meal is going to be later than usual. 

  • Call ahead to see if the restaurant can meet your dietary needs if you’ve never been there before. Or you can go online to see the menu ahead of time.

  • Carry some crackers with you in case the restaurant needs you to wait until you can be served.

  • Ask how foods are prepared before you order.

  • Instead of fried, sautéed, or breaded foods, choose ones that are broiled, steamed, grilled, or baked.

  • Ask for sauces, gravies, and dressings on the side.

  • Only eat an amount that fits your meal plan. Remember: You can take home the leftovers.

  • Save dessert for special occasions. Then choose a small dessert or share one with a friend or family member.

Make healthy choices

Fast food

  • Garden salad with light dressing on the side

  • Baked potato with vegetables or herbs

  • Broiled, roasted, or grilled chicken sandwich

  • Sliced turkey or lean roast beef sandwich


  • Chicken enchilada, without cheese or sour cream 

  • Small burrito with whole beans and chicken

  • Whole beans (not refried) and rice

  • Chicken or fish fajitas


  • Grilled or broiled lean cuts of beef

  • Baked potato with vegetables or herbs

  • Broiled or baked chicken. Don’t eat the skin.

  • Steamed vegetables


  • Steamed dumplings or potstickers

  • Broiled, boiled, or steamed meats or fish

  • Sushi or sashimi

  • Steamed rice or boiled noodles. One serving is equal to 1/3 cup.


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