Eating Out When You Have Diabetes

Eating Out When You Have Diabetes

Mmm . . . Italian food . . . Chinese . . . seafood . . . no, wait — Mexican! Definitely Mexican food tonight! Sound familiar? Everybody loves to eat out. Can kids with diabetes go out to restaurants? Sure they can.

Which Restaurant Should I Choose?

What Happens in Diabetes?

Kids who have diabetes don't need to eat a special diet. But like all kids, they should eat a mix of healthy foods. No restaurant is off-limits, but if you're helping to choose a restaurant, look for ones that offer some nutritious items. You can check out menus online.

You don't have to find a place that serves soy burgers and carrot sticks — although that might be yummy! If you can choose some protein, fats, and carbohydrates, then you'll be able to stick to your meal plan.

Sometimes you'll go to restaurants that have just what you want and need. Other times, you may have trouble finding something that fits into your meal plan. If that happens, remember that you're in the driver's seat. You don't just have to order blindly or take whatever is on the menu. Many restaurants will answer your questions and make substitutions, if you request them.

Some Quick Tips

Try these tips when you're dining out:

What Should I Bring With Me?

When you go out to eat, you should bring the things you take with you everywhere, like testing supplies, snacks, and medications. Another helpful tool is a little book that lists the calories, fats, and carbs in certain foods (you can get this from your doctor or dietitian). You can slip this book in your bag or pocket and test how well you can choose from the menu yourself. If you use things like artificial sweeteners or fat-free spreads, feel free to bring them along, too.

If you take insulin (say: IN-suh-lin), there's no need to stay home if you have to eat later than usual — in most cases, you can just make a few adjustments to your medicine schedule.

Once you know how to eat healthy, you can do it almost anywhere. Now, the only question is, do you want the chicken taco salad, the lobster tail, or . . . mmm . . . pizza!

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases This group conducts and supports research on many serious diseases affecting public health.
OrganizationAmerican Diabetes Association (ADA) The ADA website includes news, information, tips, and recipes for people with diabetes.
Web SiteJoslin Diabetes Center The website of this Boston-based center has information about how to monitor blood sugar and manage diabetes.
OrganizationJuvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) JDRF's mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Related Articles
3-Day Food Diary Some kids with diabetes might need to keep track of what they eat. A food diary can be helpful. Ask your parents and doctor if this should be part of your diabetes management plan.
Carbohydrates and Diabetes If you have diabetes, you might think you shouldn't eat carbohydrates (carbs) at all. But all kids, including kids with diabetes, can and should eat carbs as part of a healthy diet.
Meal Plans: What Kids With Diabetes Need to Know Meal plans help people with diabetes eat right and stay healthy. What's a meal plan?
Diabetes Center Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.
About Recipes for Kids With Diabetes Just like everyone else, kids who have diabetes need to eat a variety of healthy foods. Give these nutritious recipes a try!
Figuring Out Food Labels The food label on a food package is a lot like the table of contents in a book - it tells you exactly what the food contains. Read our article for kids for more about food labels.
Nick Jonas & Diabetes: Call Me Mr. Positive Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers talks about how he handles his superstar life and type 1 diabetes.
Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's