National Diabetes Month – Serving Your Diabetic Customers

shutterstock_88578589November is National Diabetes Month, which creates a great opportunity for individuals, companies, and communities to spend some time learning about what diabetes is and how to prevent and manage it. One important role that the restaurant industry plays in this awareness is to be able to offer assistance to guests who are looking for some diabetes-friendly options.

First, let’s go over what diabetes is. Diabetes is a metabolic disease that interferes with the body’s ability to produce insulin, which is made by the pancreas and is used to breakdown sugar to produce energy. When insulin isn’t produced properly it will result in high sugar levels in your bloodstream for prolonged periods of time.

There are 3 types of diabetes:

  1. Type-1 (commonly diagnosed from infancy to late 30s)
  2. Type-2 (develops later in life; preventable with proper diet and exercise)
  3. Gestational (develops during pregnancy and will often resolve itself)

Progression of diabetes can result in major life-threating complications including stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and skin and eye complications.

Eating for diabetes can be tricky and many people may feel that going out for meals is limited for them. As members of the restaurant industry, you are able to help make this process easier and more enjoyable for customers with diabetes by knowing your menu and being able to make healthy, diabetes-friendly recommendations to your guests.

What should you offer to guests with diabetes? Here are some recommendations of types of dishes that would be appropriate for a guest with diabetes:

  • Broiled or baked fish or meats (avoid fried or breaded options)
  • Substitutions on sides: vegetables or salad instead of fries or sides that are high in fat or starch
  • Whole grain options on breads (if available)
  • Options where sauces can be served on the side
  • Oil and vinegar salad dressings instead of creamy options
  • Offer to cook items in vegetable oil or low-fat margarine when possible or to remove excess salt from the dish
  • Offer lunch-sized portions (if available)
  • Provide nutrition information (if available)
  • From the bar: avoid high calorie mixers (margaritas, daiquiris, soda, or juice). Suggest a tonic mixer.

Each restaurant has their own dishes and specialties so, managers and chefs should sit down with their staff to go over the menu items, and discuss which dishes would be best suited for individuals who have eating restrictions.

Join the fight against diabetes by making sure your menu has options that are suitable for diabetic guests and your staff is knowledgeable in making healthy recommendations.




Dr. John E. Aoki, M.D. CHCQM, FABQAURP

Chief Medical Officer


Brought to you by HMAA, where we’re passionate about your health. To find out more about the HMAA health plan, visit or contact our Customer Service Department. For information on our menu of wellness services, please contact Naomi Azama at (808) 791 -7607 or



Related Posts

Hawai‘i Hotel & Restaurant Show

Hawai‘i Hotel & Restaurant Show

March 22 – 23, 2023 9am - 5pm Hawaii Convention Center The Hawai‘i Hotel & Restaurant Show is partnered with the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, and Star Events (a division of Oahu Publications, Inc.) to showcase the...

15th Annual Golf Tournament

15th Annual Golf Tournament

When: May 18, 2023  11:00 AM - 7:00 PM Location: Hawaii Prince Golf Club 91-1200 Fort Weaver Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706 Registration: 10:00, Shotgun: 11:00 AM Registration A - Platinum Sponsor – $1,500.00 3-Player team, includes cart; green fees; light lunch;...

March 2023 Chairman’s Message

March 2023 Chairman’s Message

Aloha to our Hawaii Restaurant Association community, Please mark March 22nd and 23rd in your calendar and we look forward to seeing you at this year’s Hawaii Hotel and Restaurant Show (HHRS). You will be presented with the next frontier of Hawaii’s hotel and food...