Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Tips for Dining Out With Diabetes

Two of the best tips you can use at restaurants are to watch the salt and cut the portions.

Experts recommend that people with diabetes get only 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. That's less than a teaspoon.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

A 3-Step Plan for Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment

If you have diabetes, you may already have experienced the nerve pain called diabetic neuropathy. If so, diabetic neuropathy treatment is important. Some symptoms are obvious: pain in your feet. But more subtle signs of neuropathy are just as critical to notice - and to treat. "We ask whether people are having unusual tingling or numbness," says Dace L. Trence, MD, an endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Those symptoms...

Read the A 3-Step Plan for Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment article > >

These course-by-course tips will help:

Appetizers

  • Choose fresh fruit or vegetables.
  • Avoid soups and broths.
  • Stay away from bread and rolls with salty, buttery crusts.

Salads

  • Select fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid pickles, canned or marinated vegetables, cured meats, seasoned croutons, cheeses, and salted seeds.
  • Order salad dressings on the side, and use small amounts of them.

Main courses

  • Choose plain foods including broiled, grilled, or roasted meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish.
  • Select plain vegetables, potatoes, and noodles.
  • Ask your server about the low-salt menu choices, and ask how the food is prepared.
  • Ask for food to be cooked without salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Avoid restaurants that do not allow for special food preparation (such as buffet-style restaurants and diners).
  • Avoid casseroles, mixed dishes, gravies, and sauces.
  • At fast-food restaurants, skip the special sauces, condiments, and cheese.
  • Avoid salted condiments and garnishes such as olives and pickles.

Desserts

  • Choose fresh fruits, ices, sherbet, gelatin, and plain cakes.

Controlling Portion Size at Restaurants

Servings at many restaurants are often big enough to provide lunch for 2 days. When eating out:

  • Ask for half or smaller portions.
  • Eyeball your appropriate portion, set the rest aside, and ask for a doggie bag right away.
  • If you have dessert, share.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 29, 2013

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article