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Diabetic-Friendly Options at Your Favorite Fast Food Chains

For those people living with diabetes, developing an effective diet plan is one of the most important aspects of their overall treatment plan. Most find that preparing their own meals is the most effective method. However, it can be really, really difficult to avoid swinging through the drive through on a really busy day. Luckily, there are some fast-food options which are diabetic-friendly!

Diabetic orders a hamburger from Mcdonald's

Did you know that fast food chains offer some healthy options for diabetics?

That’s crazy right? It’s actually not. It is possible to make healthy choices at your favorite fast-food restaurants. However, you should keep a few things in mind before making your order:

  • Choose whole grains when possible
  • Choose a meal that provides a variety of food groups in moderate amounts
  • Look for items that have non-starchy vegetables
  • Don’t add any extra salt to your meal
  • Choose a meal that is not high in trans or saturated fats
  • Don’t order the large size

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Order Out Smart

Diabetic diet plan journalMost fast food restaurants provide detailed nutritional information on all of their menu items. Be sure that you take the time to review this information before making your decision. We recommend sticking to menu items that don’t exceed:

  • 400 total calories
  • 20 grams of fat
  • 800 milligrams of sodium per serving

Wendy’s

Our Recommended Order for Diabetics: The half-size order of Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. This delicious salad is not only healthy, but it’s also quite filling. Please note that Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad is served with pecans and pomegranate dressing. Thirsty? Skip on the sugary soda and order an unsweetened iced tea.

Nutritional Information:

  • 340 calories
  • 18 g of total fat (4.5 g of saturated fat)
  • 60 mg of cholesterol
  • 700 mg of sodium
  • 29 g of carbohydrates (22 g of sugar, 4 g of fiber)
  • 19 g of protein

McDonald’s

Our Recommended Order for Diabetics: The Filet-O-Fish sandwich. In the mood for a delicious sandwich? We suggest going for the Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s. Anyone hearing that ridiculous jingle again?

Filet of fish jingle video here:

The Filet-O-Fish provides a satisfying 15 grams of protein. Plus, we recommend ordering the unsweetened iced tea and apple slices for a full meal that’s diabetic friendly.

Nutritional Information:

  • 400 total calories
  • 18 g of total fat (3.5 g of saturated fat)
  • 40 mg of cholesterol
  • 644 mg of sodium
  • 42 g of carbohydrates (8 g of sugar, 2 g of fiber)
  • 15 g of protein

Burger King

Our Recommended Order for Diabetics: The Whopper Jr. sandwich. Here’s one that you may be surprised to find on this list. However, diabetics can still satisfy that burger craving at Burger King and even add cheese! Please be sure that you ask for no mayo. If you’re in the mood for a full meal, we recommend the apple slices and diet drink instead of the fries and soda.

Nutritional Information:

  • 330 total calories
  • 13 g of total fat ( 6 g of saturated fat)
  • 45 mg of cholesterol
  • 640 mg of sodium
  • 39 g of carbohydrates (13 g of sugars, 2 g of fiber)
  • 16 g of protein

Jimmy John’s

Diabetic orders the Unwich at Jimmy John's

Photo courtesy of R. Patrick Shovlin

Our Recommended Order for Diabetics: The Pepe (Unwich). Have you seen the commercials for Jimmy John’s? The really do provide some freaky fast delivery! If you have a hankering for one of their sandwiches, there are some healthy options that won’t derail your diabetes management plan.

We recommend getting the #1 Pepe. Also order it as an unwich– meaning that it’ll be a lettuce wrap instead of a sub sandwich. You should also skip the mayo in favor of mustard. If you’re really hungry, the Thinny Chips aren’t a bad side option, but skip on the soda.

Nutritional Information:

  • 317 total calories
  • 15 g of total fat (6 g of sat. fat)
  • 46 mg of cholesterol
  • 924 mg of sodium
  • 24 g of carbohydrates (4 g of fiber)
  • 20 g of protein

Subway

Our Recommended Order for Diabetics: The 6 inch Veggie Delite sandwich. Subway has plenty of marketing surrounding how healthy of an option it is. However, a meatball sub is not going to be included on any diabetic diet plan. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, we recommend getting the 6-inch Veggie Delite with:

  • Lettuce
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Provolone cheese

Nutritional Information:

  • 310 total calories
  • 10 g of total fat (4.5 g of sat. fat)
  • 20 mg of cholesterol
  • 485 mg of sodium
  • 42 g of carbohydrates (6 g of sugars, 3 g of fiber)
  • 14 g of protein

Chick-Fil-A

Man orders a fried chicken sandwich despite his diabetesOur Recommended Order for Diabetics: The Chick-Fil-A char-grilled chicken sandwich. Done right, it is possible to get a meal at Chick-Fil-A that only has 4 grams of fat! That’s pretty impressive for a fast-food restaurant. Here’s the diabetic friendly meal we recommend ordering:

  • The char-grilled chicken sandwich
  • Small fruit cup
  • Unsweetened iced tea

Nutritional Information:

  • 340 total calories
  • 4 g of total fat (1 g of sat. fat)
  • 60 mg of cholesterol
  • 790 mg of sodium
  • 49 g of carbohydrates (20 g of sugars, 4 g of fiber)
  • 28 g of protein

As you can see, fast-food does not have to be off limits to someone who is living with diabetes. There are healthy options available and these companies are working hard to improve their menus and add even more diabetic-friendly items. Hope you found this useful and let us know if there are other fast food restaurants that you would like to see included in this list.

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