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A blurred image of a fast-food restaurant counter and menu board.

For those with diabetes, it can feel challenging to make healthy choices when dining away from home. However, by incorporating the following tips, you can make good choices when eating out to maintain your blood sugar goals. These suggestions, adapted from a list provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can apply to both fast-food and sit-down restaurants.

Plan Ahead

Many restaurants provide online access to their menu and the nutrition content of their food. This information often includes the appropriate serving size for the meal, as well as the calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium amounts for their dishes. Some restaurants also include ingredient descriptions or indicate healthier menu items. By researching the meal options that the restaurant provides beforehand, you can create a healthier plan for yourself before arriving at the restaurant. This will allow you to be aware of the nutrient content of your meal and help you make a healthy choice at the restaurant.

Be Mindful of Portions

Many restaurants provide large servings of food. Ask for a to-go box when your food arrives, so you can divide your meal into portions and avoid eating too much at one time. You can also split a dish with another person to control the portion size of your meal.

Order Grilled Meats

Many restaurants will present you with the choice between a grilled or fried protein for sandwiches, salads, and other dishes. Ordering the grilled option will save the additional calories and carbohydrate servings that the breading on fried proteins will contain.

Ask for Sauces on the Side

When ordering sandwiches, salads, or other foods that contain a sauce or dressing, ask for the sauce or dressing to be served on the side. You will be able to control the amount of sauce you use, which will help reduce excess calories and carbohydrates.

Drink Water

Order water when you eat out at a restaurant instead of soda. Full-sugar sodas will greatly increase the total carbohydrates for the meal, so ordering water, unsweetened tea, or diet sodas will help you avoid excess carbohydrates.


By incorporating these suggestions, you can engage in healthier practices and maintain your blood sugar goals, even when dining away from home.