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Eating out is fun even if you have diabetes: Just be smart about it

Water is always the best option, but if you want to order something else, opt for something like unsweetened iced tea with a sugar-free sweetener. © Shutterstock

So, you have diabetes and you are dying to eat out. Who says you can't? Just be conscious about the food you are ordering and make smart choices.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : December 20, 2019 11:19 AM IST

Everybody likes to dine out once in a while. It breaks the monotony of cooking and provides a welcome change in an otherwise predictable life. Besides, who doesn't want to sample the delectable fare that most restaurants have to offer? But if you have diabetes, it must be really difficult for you to eat out. Most of the meals come laden with hidden sugars and unhealthy carbs. Even the so-called healthy food in restaurants and cafes may be not-so-healthy. This naturally makes you think twice before planning a night out and ordering anything.

But if you are diabetic, it doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy the little things in life. Of course, you can eat out. But you need to do it intelligently and order just the right things. There are also certain things that you need to avoid when dining out if you have diabetes. If you are unsure, you can always ask the waiter and he can help you make informed choices.

Here are 8 common foods you can find at a variety of restaurants that you will typically want to avoid ordering.

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Bread Basket

It's customary for a waiter to bring out a basket of warm bread at many restaurants. Whether you're at an Italian restaurant with garlic bread or a French bistro with sliced baguette, take a pass on the bread basket as this loaded with unnecessary carbs that really won't satiate you but will instead increase your blood sugar levels.

Salads with Sweet Ingredients or Dressings

Salads with high-carb fruits and sweet dressings can have a ton of sugar in them, overshadowing any positive health benefits from the greens. Instead, opt for salads with more savory elements and dressings, or just a simple house salad with lemon and olive oil.

Sugary Drinks

If you have diabetes, you'll want to avoid soda, sweet cocktails, and fruit juices when you're dining out. Water is always the best option, but if you want to order something else, opt for something like unsweetened iced tea with a sugar-free sweetener. If you want to order an alcoholic beverage, ask if the restaurant can offer you a "skinny" version of the cocktail, which typically doesn't have as much sugar as the regular version.

Sweet Asian Sauces

Asian sauces like teriyaki sauce or orange sauce can be loaded with sugar and cause a major glucose spike. Ask for a side of soy sauce instead of any sweet sauces, and if you're not sure whether a sauce is going to be a sweet or not, ask for the restaurant to put it on the side.

Breaded Chicken, Fish, or Meat

As tempting as chicken parmesan or fish and chips may be, you'll want to avoid these heavily breaded entr es if you have diabetes. While the chicken or fish part of the meal isn't bad, the breaded exterior is high in carbohydrates. Instead, go for grilled chicken or baked fish with lots of greens and veggies.


If you're dining at a Mexican restaurant, it's common to find tacos, burritos, and quesadillas all enveloped inside tortillas. This high-carb component should be avoided just as much as the Mexican rice on the side. If you can't order a low-carb option like a taco salad, order soft tacos and only eat the filling that's inside of the tacos.

French Fries

This high-carb starch is usually offered with entr es like burgers and sandwiches, but you should definitely avoid them when you suffer from diabetes. The same goes for potato chips, which are also a common side to burgers and sandwiches. Instead, ask for a house salad or fresh fruit.

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is typically loaded with sugar, just like some of the Asian sauces mentioned earlier. If you're at a steakhouse or ribs joint, make sure you request the meat not to be topped with or covered in any barbecue sauce as this can cause a major spike in blood sugar levels.

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