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Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes

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Diabetes health tip

Diabetes: Sorting fact from fiction
Diabetes is a serious illness. To help contain this leading cause of disability and death, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

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Dining out


Limit alcohol. It can affect judgment and cause overeating.

  • The portions are often too large.
  • The amount and type of fat can be hard to figure.
  • If you are very hungry, you may be tempted to make poor choices or eat too much.

How to eat out

  • Plan ahead. Do not go to a restaurant hungry.
  • Eat moderate portions. Share a meal. Ask for a to-go box when you are served and put half of the meal into it before you start eating.
  • Ask about child-sized portions.
  • Ask for salad dressing, sour cream, sauces, butter and mayonnaise on the side.
  • Choose foods that are broiled, baked, grilled or steamed.
  • Do not panic if you eat too much. Just get back on track.

Other tips


If you are pregnant, check with your dietitian about a meal plan that is right for you.

  • You may eat or drink calorie-free and sugar-free foods. Be careful about sugar-free foods that have more than 20 calories per serving. Eating a lot of these foods may raise your blood glucose.
  • Try to eat three to five servings of carrots, green and yellow beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers every day. These nonstarchy vegetables have vitamins, minerals and fiber but not much carbohydrate.
  • Low-fat on a food label does not mean it is low in carbohydrates or calories.
  • Sugar free does not mean it is carbohydrate free.
  • High-fat meals tend to make your blood glucose stay up for a longer time.


Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, fifth edition, ISBN 1-931876-32-0

First published: 12/01/2006
Last updated: 04/26/2013

Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts