6 Tips For Healthier Restaurant Eating

Check the boxes below for each tip that you would like to start making a change to your current habits. You may wish to print this page to help you making the changes.

1. Make special requests

Ask to have your meal prepared differently. For example, ask for baked instead of fried. You can also request no sugar or fat be added to your ordered items.

Ask for extra vegetables instead of French fries.

Control the amount of fat you eat by asking for salad dressings, toppings, and sauces
on the side.

Ask for half portions. Resist supersizing your meal even if it seems to be a bargain! The larger the portions, the more tempted you will be to eat more than you really need.

Resist the bread and butter at the beginning, or ask for it to be removed.


2. Make substitutions

Instead of having… Substitute with…
French fries A portion of vegetables
French fries, hash browns, fried rice Whole grain breads, rice, pasta, barley, couscous, plain or sweet potatoes
High-fat dressings such as sour cream, cheese, guacamole Salsa
Creamy salad dressings or toppings such as bacon bits, croutons and cheese A low-fat dressing such as a vinaigrette or lemon juice
Cream soups Broth based or vegetable soups
High-salt, high-fat meats like ribs, wings, sausages, wieners, and processed luncheon meats Lean meats, poultry without the skin, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, tofu, soy products, legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, beans)
Sauces with high sodium (salt) content, such as soy sauce, gravy and ketchup Low-sodium options. Or, have the sauce served on the side so that you control how much of it you eat.
High-fat desserts Fruit, yogurt, skim milk latte, or cappuccino


3. Check the cooking method

Check the cooking method


Look for dishes with tomato-based rather than cream-based sauces.

If a menu item is unfamiliar to you, ask your dining room attendant about its ingredients and method of cooking.


4. Choose healthier beverages

Ask for water, low-fat milk, sugar-free or diet drinks, clear tea, herbal tea or black coffee.

Too much alcohol with a meal can make your blood glucose levels either too high or too low. Talk to your healthcare team about whether it is safe to drink alcohol, and how much. For more information, see Alcohol and Diabetes: Is alcohol a choice for me?


5. Don’t overindulge at the buffet

Walk around the buffet table and see what foods are offered. Note which foods appeal to you and which ones you can live without.

Go through the buffet line only once for each course. If the buffet is too much temptation, order from the menu instead.

For your main course, fill your plate using the Plate Method

If you like variety, take small amounts of each food you choose. Or, eat as if you are at a regular restaurant. Have one appetizer, such as a salad, one main course, and look for a healthy dessert option.


6. Pace yourself

Eat slowly. Eating is a pleasure – make it last!

Stop when you feel full and satisfied. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full.

Drink water to avoid nibbling between courses.

Learn more at: diabetesgps.ca
Just the Basics: Tips for Healthy Eating, Diabetes Prevention and Management
Paving Your Path to Diabetes Management: Basic Carbohydrate Counting and Glycemic Index