Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

9 Tips for Dining Out

The Diabetes Plate Method can be your guide when eating away from home

By Lara Hamilton, RD, CDE
Learn More about Eat Well America


Don't panic when it comes time for eating out. The Diabetes Plate Method can be a guide for how you order food at a restaurant or take-out counter.

  1. Keep the basic plate principles in mind as you read the menu or order board. Because nonstarchy vegetables are the food to eat the most of, pick menu items that offer a large amount of them.
  2. Ask whether you can swap the fries or chips that come with your order for a salad or side order of nonstarchy vegetables.
  3. Focus on stir-fries with vegetables (order extra veggies), chicken, and brown rice; this includes all the components of the plate method.
  4. Consider soup and salad combinations that offer a vegetable soup and a side salad; add grilled chicken or shrimp for protein.
  5. Look for turkey or salmon burgers. Order with a side of broccoli or salad for your vegetable serving (the bun would count as the grain/starch serving and the burger would be your protein serving).
  6. Avoid large pasta dishes that have too much starch and not enough veggies. Or ask the server for just half the pasta or half the pasta combined with steamed veggies.
  7. Swap out all or part of the rice at fast-casual Asian restaurants with steamed vegetables.
  8. Make use of take-home containers. Halve too-large portions of grains or starchy foods and meat and take a portion home to enjoy for another meal.
  9. At Mexican restaurants, there tend to be many starchy foods. Instead of eating tortilla chips, rice, and beans, opt for one of these (the beans are likely to be the most nutritious option).

>> See how to use the plate when you prepare meals at home.