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Dining Out With Diabetes

by Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Family & Community Health Agent


Dining Out with Diabetes

The title has two meanings: 1) for persons with diabetes, they take diabetes with them when dining out; 2) for persons with diabetes, there are some tips for dining out. When eating out, you do have choices. They base the following tips for eating healthfully in restaurants on suggestions from the National Diabetes Education Program.

  • Take time to look over the menu to make a healthy choice. If you don’t see what you want, ask about it. The worst your server can say is no and could say yes.
  • Ask whether the restaurant has nutrition information available for menu items. Chain and fast-food restaurants often do. Look online ahead of time if you know which restaurant you will be visiting.
  • Choose steam, grilled, or boiled food dishes instead of fried or sauteed items to help lower the fat content.
  • Be the first at your table to order, so you aren’t influenced by others’ choices.
  • Order the smallest entrees, sides, and caloric beverages at fast-food restaurants – not the giant, “value-sized” versions.
  • Eat half your order, then think about how full you feel. If you are no longer hungry, ask for a carry-out box later for a second meal or snack.
  • Order salad dressing, gravies, sauces, and spreads on the side and then use sparingly.
  • Order a salad for starters and share a main dish with a friend.
  • When you crave high-calorie foods such as desserts or high-fat snacks, have a small portion or share a serving with a friend. Instead of always denying yourself, permitting yourself an occasional treat can help you stick to your meal plan more often.
  • Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants or buffets where it isn’t easy to control portion sizes and how much you eat.

With warmer weather making its way, many people will have vegetable gardens. Here’s an excellent recipe for garden cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes!



  • 6-inch cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, seeds, pith, and stem removed
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • One clove garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • Two tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato juice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 drops hot sauce, optional


  1. Quarter cucumber and pepper; place in blender or food processor. Add all remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until well combined and mostly smooth.
  2. Add hot sauce if desired and stir. Pour into a container with a lid and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Serve cold. Makes 4-6 servings

Per serving: 99 calories, 15 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g fat, 189 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

Closing Thought

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality – Warren Bennis.