Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location




Enter an ingredient, course or keyword and get cooking!




AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP Auto Buying Program


Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules

most popular


Dining Out Tips for Diabetics

You can navigate a restaurant menu

En español

How to Choose the Best Foods

Those with diabetes need not sacrifice the pleasure of going out to eat. Knowing about the different food groups and which foods to avoid or limit will help you make the right choices when you dine out; paying attention to serving sizes will keep you from eating too much. Here are some tips to help you choose the best foods:

  • Before you order something, ask the server how it is prepared. Is it fried, baked, or grilled? If the normal method isn’t a healthy choice for you, can it be cooked another way? Is it served in a heavy sauce — and, if so, can you omit the sauce or serve it on the side?

  • Choose fish, lean meat, or skinless chicken that is broiled, poached, baked, or grilled.

  • Order salads and steamed vegetables to accompany your meal. Request low-fat dressings and sauces, and ask to have them served on the side so you can control the amount you get.

  • Ask the server to suggest low-fat dishes. Restaurants nowadays encounter people on special diets all the time and will usually accommodate their customers.

  • If you take insulin and know that your meal will be delayed, be sure to time your injection accordingly. You can eat a roll or piece of fruit to tide you over and prevent hypoglycemia.

  • If everyone around you is ordering dessert and you crave it, ask to share with someone. Even a couple of bites of a dessert can satisfy your craving.


Shun Super-Sizing

Restaurant portions are often much larger than what most of us need to eat or should eat. When the portions are huge, it’s tempting to eat more than the amount that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you avoid eating too much: 

  • Ask your server about the size of an item. Is it big enough for two? Can you get a half order?

  • Before you order, ask to see what a small, medium, or large size looks like.

  • Choose smaller portions if they are offered — or order from the appetizer menu, where servings are usually smaller.

  • Choose half a sandwich and half a salad.

  • Avoid buffets and “all you can eat” dishes.

  • If you are served more than your meal plan allows, take the rest home for another time. If you tend to clean your plate, ask for a take-home box at the beginning of the meal and put the excess food in the box before you start eating.

  • Ask the waiter to not serve bread.

Next: Tips for Eating Out in Different Types of Restaurants >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

McCormick and Schmicks (McCormick and Schmicks)

Members save 10% every day when dining at McCormick and Schmick's.

membership schwanns discount

Members save $20 on their first grocery delivery order from Schwan's Home Service™.

Outback membership benefit aarp festive steak dinner

Members save 15% on dinner Monday-Thursday and on lunch every day at Outback Steakhouse.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.