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Fast food is a staple of American culture. More than other nations, the U.S. has a draw to the fried side of dining, with fast food joints and restaurants that serve similar fried food all over every city in the country. In fact, there are nearly 16,000 McDonald’s locations in the U.S. alone. If you’re living as a diabetic, it can be very frustrating to live in such a food-culture where calories aren’t necessarily counted, and dietary regulations aren’t the top priority. For diabetics all over the world, eating out at a fast food place can bring a lot of anxiety, so most opt not to do it at all. Since it’s such a part of the social scene in the U.S., however, it’s difficult to avoid altogether.


I personally avoid fast food as much as possibly because it’s tough on my blood sugar.  When I’m on the run, I’ll look for fast casual restaurants where I can order my food plain (no extra oil, butter, salt, sauces, marinade, etc), so that I can better control my blood sugar levels.  On road trips, even googling the location of a deli instead can help (which are sometimes hidden in gas stations and are great!), where you can grab a giant water and plain grilled chicken with salad or on a whole wheat wrap.  But, for those times fast food is really the only option, here’s what I’d recommend:


Taco Bell

A recent article reported that ordering your food “Fresco Style” at this popular Mexican chain restaurant will help to greatly reduce the amount of calories that usually come with the cheese and sauce-rich dishes.



If you need to make a stop at a McDonald’s, you do have some options that won’t break your caloric count and cholesterol totals. Diabetic Living Online suggests the Filet-O-Fish sandwich with a side of apple slices and a small unsweetened iced tea.



While this fast food place is known for their fried chicken, you can always order your chicken grilled or baked. A safe choice here would include a grilled chicken breast and wing with a side dish of the sweet kernel corn and a water.


Jimmy John’s or Subway

On-the-go sandwich shops are a lighter fast food option in general that will help you make a healthy decision while eating out. Everyday Health suggests limiting toppings on sandwiches to healthy veggies and avoiding heavy dressings. At Subway, you have plenty of veggie options for your sandwich as well as a range of healthy dressings. At Jimmy John’s, you can even order your sandwich as an “unwich,” which means your sandwich is wrapped in lettuce instead of bread.


While your fast food options might seem limited, there are some ways to work around the restrictive nature of diabetes. Of course, it’s important to stick to your regular portion sizes and eating schedule to avoid any crashes. Not only do the above options help diabetics, these dishes also serve as a great rule of thumb for anyone who wants to be conscious of their diet while dining at a drive-thru restaurant. The biggest takeaway? Know what your body needs and make healthy and smart choices.