Fast food is not off-limits for people with diabetes, but knowing what to order makes all the difference. Check out our top picks for healthier eating at fast-food restaurants including McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s and more. Fast-food joints get a bad reputation for serving up foods high in carbs, sodium, fat and sugar-but that doesn’t mean a trip to Wendy’s has to be completely off the table, even if you have diabetes. After all, fast food does have its benefits-like convenience and consistent quality wherever you go-and sometimes it’s the only option for a meal if you’re on a road trip or stuck in an airport. You don’t have to stick to plain grilled chicken or salads either-there’s room for a burger with fries too! To help you navigate the drive-thru with diabetes, we’re sharing dietitian-approved menu recommendations for each of the most popular chains, plus expert ordering tips to help you find a meal that will fill you up without sabotaging your blood sugar. The next time you’re faced with a fast-food menu, you’ll be prepared to make a smart choice to fit your lifestyle, satisfy cravings and support your individual dietary needs. If you’re craving a burger, order a junior-size patty and toss half the bun to spare some carbs.
Make It a Veggie Bowl If you’re a vegetarian, order the Salad Bowl with Chicken, but simply ask for a double portion of black beans instead of chicken. But do be careful with the amount of carbs per serving if you are following a low-carb diet. Go for a salad or eat only half the bread in your sandwich, try for mustard instead of mayo, and look for more healthful proteins such as chicken or cheese instead of processed meats or meatballs. Use half the dressing to lower the sodium content or skip it entirely and buy the “Avocado Spread” for a creamy, heart-healthy dressing with 90 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g carbs, 4 g fiber and mg sodium. Eating Fast Food with Diabetes Back. It’s a simple request that makes fitting a few chips into your meal much more reasonable. Go with Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa over the tomato-based salsa options, which are twice as high in sodium mg per serving compared to around mg respectively. Close View image. Ask for a knife and fork to make an open-face burger less messy. But Panera also offers plenty of diabetes-appropriate options.
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Most fast-food restaurants have updated their menus over the years to keep up with healthier food and nutrition trends. Some general tips: Choose small-size entrees and round out every meal with a side salad and light dressing or small fruit cup. Your blood sugar will thank you.