10 Things to Ask Your Waiter If You Have Diabetes

Enjoy eating out with friends, even on a diabetes-friendly meal plan. Here are the best questions to ask your server before ordering.

1 / 10

Waitress Taking Order From Customers Sitting Outside Restaurant
Willie B. Thomas/Getty Images

How is this cooked?

How your food is cooked can be the difference between a light, healthy dinner or consuming a full day’s worth of calories in one sitting. If your server says the dish is breaded and fried, skip it. Look for dishes that use cooking methods with less fat like broiling, roasting, grilling or steaming.

Set yourself up for success by eating at the best restaurants for people with diabetes.

2 / 10
Waitress writing ordering on notepad, partial view
Westend61/Getty Images

Can I make a substitution?

Most of us feel a little uneasy asking for too many substitutions at a restaurant but it’s more common than you’d think. Ask your server what healthy substitutions she would recommend. Or stay home and have fun finding ways to lighten up your favorite restaurant copycat meals.

3 / 10

Chopped butter in silver skillet.
annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

Is it possible to use half the butter?

There’s a reason why restaurant food tastes better than your home cooking: Butter. Most dishes are generously seasoned with yummy but not so diabetes-friendly ingredients like cream, oils and other fats. Ask your server to have the chef cook yours in less fat, and skip the extra butter and salt at the table.

If you have a craving for fast food, know the best diabetic-friendly fast food options to order.

4 / 10

Sauteed Vegetables, Onions and Peppers
grandriver/Getty Images

Can you double the veggies?

Look for menu items with fresh or cooked veggies and up the health factor by asking your server to double the veggies on your plate. For example, if you decide to order the fabulous fajitas, ask your server to skip the flour tortillas and instead double the (much more flavorful) fajita veggies.

5 / 10

couple sharing spaghetti at a restaurant
Kilito Chan/Getty Images

Can we split this?

Most restaurant meals contain at least two servings of food, so why not enjoy your portion with a friend? Ask your server to bring an extra plate (keep in mind there may be a small charge for this). Splitting is also a great tip for dining out on Valentine’s Day. Just be sure to leave a generous tip for your accommodating server.

6 / 10

Takeaway food during pandemic
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Could I have a to-go container right away?

Another option for enjoying a large meal is bringing half of it home for lunch tomorrow. To avoid mindlessly eating more than you need, ask your server to bring a to-go container right away. Then you can pack up your leftovers before the meal has even begun.

7 / 10

pizza maker topping the pizza with tomato sauce
COROIMAGE/Getty Images

Could you please hold the cheese?

Little toppings like shredded cheese, bacon bits, croutons and sugary dried fruit can add hundreds of calories to an otherwise healthy meal. Don’t be shy to ask your server to hold the extras; then load up on fresh veggies and lean proteins instead.

8 / 10
Close-Up Of Vinegar Bottles With Salt And Pepper Shaker On Table
Fabian Krause/Getty Images

Will you bring me oil and vinegar?

One of the sneakiest ways that eating out can add up on fat and calories quickly is with salad dressings. A salad seems like a safe choice but if it’s doused in creamy ranch, you may be better off with the fries. Ask your server to bring oil and vinegar with your plain salad so you can whip up your own dressing to stay on plan and still enjoy it.

9 / 10

Ripe, sliced, fresh fruits, organic lemons and lime
mikroman6/Getty Images

Could we have a plate of lemon and lime slices?

Skip sugary sodas and cocktails that only add calories to an already-huge meal. Ask your server to bring sliced fruit like lemon, lime and orange slices to dress up your water. It will cut sugar and calories while still feeling special. Bring that feeling home with our favorite easy infused water recipes.

10 / 10

Waiter taking client's order
FG Trade/Getty Images

What healthy options would you recommend?

Your server knows the restaurant’s menu better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to ask for healthy suggestions. He or she may also have ideas for substitutions you hadn’t thought of. It’s possible to choose light, low-calorie foods at any restaurant so grab your friends and enjoy!

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.