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Managing Diabetes When Dining Out

Posted by The Pavilion Senior Living Team on Oct 15, 2018 8:00:00 AM | 3 minute read

Managing Diabetes When Dining Out

Learning about a diagnosis of diabetes can be very frustrating, and furthermore, frightening. While fear may be your first initial response, questions and concerns may quickly consume you. You might wonder: Do I have to adjust my diet? Can I still go out to eat? If you are in senior care and managing diabetes, this new diagnosis may be very overwhelming. The Pavilion Senior Living is here to let you know that you can still enjoy an exciting culinary life - you just need to be more cautious.

The good news? While you might think that restaurants are off limits, that is not true! You can still go out to eat even with blood sugar concerns. Most restaurants offer healthy alternatives to sides, entrées, and are aware of diabetic guidelines. Follow these tips to make sure you are making the right choices while dining with diabetes!


Seniors that have been living with diabetes for some time are well aware of proper portion sizes. However, you cannot trust a restaurant to follow these same guidelines. The best way to stick with appropriate portions while dining out is to order the smallest meal size. Generally, this means choosing the lunch over the dinner entrée size. Other ways to stay true to portions can be:

  • Order an appetizer as a meal
  • Split an entrée with a friend
  • Split your meal in half, and ask for a to-go box for later

Following these tips can help ensure you are eating proper portion sizes even when you are away from home. Of course, portion size is not always enough - you still need to be aware of what you are eating. 


If you have a craving something, it is important to know that you do not have to deny yourself every time (just be sure you are always following any dietary restrictions set forth by your doctor). Craving a hamburger is still tempting but be mindful of the alternatives available to you. Some restaurants offer lettuce wraps instead of burger buns or provide whole wheat options. Also, you can ask your server for other offerings that can be replaced with your side dishes. If your meal comes with fries, ask for fresh veggies or a side salad instead. If you are ordering a salad, be cautious of the dressing, as well


Some may think that ordering a salad is “healthy” enough, but if it comes with croutons, bacon, and ranch, you could be overdoing it. Being a senior with diabetes means you need to be cautious about all the items that come with your meal. What you need to order or not order, really depends on what you’ve eaten throughout the day and what type of diabetes you have. 


senior care, diabetes

It may be a good idea to call ahead to any restaurant you plan on eating at to ask how certain items are prepared or if you can request various preparation methods. For instance, if a dish is fried or even breaded, ask if you can have it grilled, steamed, or roasted. Other preparation techniques that you should inquire about consist of whole wheat options or fats they use. Do not be afraid to ask for:

  • Whole grains
  • Skinless chicken
  • Egg substitute or egg whites
  • Minimal butter, oil, and cheese

Even things that are not necessarily prepared can have an adverse effect on your blood sugar. Free bread or chips are delicious and hard to resist, but with diabetes, they can be unhealthy for your diabetes. Ask the waiter or waitress not to bring these items to your table when you are first seated to avoid temptation.

Being in senior care with diabetes should not limit you to eating blandly. As long as you are aware of portion sizes, alternatives, unnecessary extras, and preparation methods of your food you can safely dine out anywhere with diabetes.

GET COOKING!  Download Our Diabetic-Friendly Recipes

If you would like to have your food prepared and not worry about your own dietary restrictions, you should consider a senior living community! Contact an expert at The Pavilion Senior Living for more details!

Tags: Senior Living, Healthy Habits