Urge Restaurants to start Serving Diabetic Friendly Meals - Very Few Do!

I have never had trouble finding anything to eat while dining out.

And actually, one thing about McDonalds that I find very diabetes-friendly is that nutritional information is listed on all the packaging. And that nutritional information includes carbohydrate count, which not all chains think is important enough to list.

It also begs the question ‘what is diabetic friendly’. What most of us on TuD think is diabetes-friendly might not match up with what the rest of the world thinks is diabetes-friendly - and that includes the medical establishment, as well as diabetics who are less empowered to take control of their disease.

For example, the rest of the world would probably consider a diabetes-friendly lunch to be a grilled chicken breast, no skin, on wholegrain bread, with some lettuce and tomato. No butter, no mayo. Fat-free sugar-free banana yogurt for dessert.

That would be too much carb for many of us low-carbers. We might instead prefer the chicken served with a large green leaf salad with olives, avocado and bacon bits. With an extra virgin olive oil dressing if preferred. For dessert, a square of dark chocolate or some Greek yogurt with a little Splenda mixed in.

You ask for ‘diabetically friendly’ but honestly, most people haven’t got a clue what that means. Far better for you as the empowered customer to make your own selections from the menu based on the unbiased information you get from your blood glucose meter. I have never had a restaurant refuse to substitute the potatoes with salad or vegetables. Ditto, I’ve never had a restaurant say no to serving sauces or dressings on the side.

A final thought. Since diabetes is one of those rare diseases where most of the world thinks it is OK to blame the patient, I’m not sure how much of a marketing advantage offering ‘diabetes-friendly’ food would be.

I think you’re right the most important thing they could do for us is give accurate carb counts. Since we have many different ideas of what constitutes a diabetic friendly carb count, this would accommodate us all.

Yesterday before I posted I went to McDonald’s website to see the carb count for their salads. Subtracting fiber, it was only 9g but they left out the counts on the dressing. A rather significant omission

I have just had a look on the McD UK website and the dressings are listed separately from the salads. They are listed with the dips.

The only two dressings on offer in the UK are Low Fat Balsamic Dressing (3g carb) and Low Fat Caesar Dressing (8g carb). There is a sugar count and a carb count. Nice and precise, I like that!

There is a conveyor belt sushi chain in the UK which recently opened a branch where I live. I checked the nutritional information on the company website and was shocked that it only gave information about sugar, not carb. I emailed the company and they were totally unrepentant and insisted that they do not have a legal obligation to provide carb count. Thank goodness they serve the worst sushi I have ever tasted, so they don’t have to worry about losing a customer.

BadMoon - you just tempted me to look up the McDonalds US website. You might have missed the nutritional information on the dressings (all from Newman’s Own) as they are listed separately from the salads? They are on page 4 of the pdf.

There are some surprising low carb choices on there as well. A kiddie cone is only 8g of carb and a snack size Oreo McFlurry is a won’t-bust-the-bank 18g of carb.

Lila, that 18g of carb for the snack-size Oreo McFlurry is what you take in for seeing one. If you actually eat one, the carb count is much higher. That’s been my experience anyway. :wink:

Sugar free foods aren’t really D-friendly. Many of the sugar substitutes use are derived from sugar alcohols, which for T1s at least can cause us to spike. Not to mention the chemicals that are in sugar substitutes.

What’s D friendly to one person isn’t exactly D friendly to another person.

Lila, I was clicking on the menu items and then on the nutrition info which brings up in a popup. It took me a little poking around but I finally found it thanks to your tip. Actually it proved useful as I usually get Ranch but it turns out the Caesar or Balsamic are better choices at only 4g each vs 9g for the Ranch.


I agree about nutritonal information being one of the most diabetic friendly thing any restaurant can do. This past weekend, I was at an upscale veggie joint whee I paid $9 for a vegetarian cheeseburger with a side of cole slaw. I looked around through the several high gloss pamphlets touting the wholesomeness and healthiness of their offerings looking for the nutritional information for my order before the counterperson told me that they did not have that information available. I had never had that type of plate before so I had nothing to base my insulin dose on. I was pretty much flying blind and it was not a comfortable feeling.

Sorry to disagree but I like fast-food joints just the way they are. I’m tired of “specials” I just want good food…which if I am craving I won’t necessarily go to joints for. But if I want a good cheap, fast meal give me a Whopper, fries and a diet coke. Just my opinion I realize.

What we wouldnt give for an In-N-Out Burger right about now…hubby and I.

I agree! After I was diagnosed last year, some friends and I were going to go out to eat. I looked some restaurants nutrition info. online and was astonished. Mimi’s Cafe was the worst! I found that I could get a salad at Chipotle and it was not too bad.

If we are talking about actual restaurants then I do not know one restaurant where salad is not on the menu. If you are talking about diabetic friendly then you have to consider the source, the diabetic that is…Most people do not eat how they should. What exactly is diabetic friendly, maybe its no carb/ low carb/ low sodium/ no sugar/ only organic/ no white starches. I personally only like to eat whole grain pasta and breads and eat only sweet potato fries because they work best for my body where as another diabetic have no problem eating french fries or a white pasta. But also note that many restaurants can adjust the menu for you they can substitute or replace. How many people buy sugar free options when sugar is being offered, I mean really? I found it amazing how not all grocery stores have a variety of low carb/ sugar free options it seems like it is not a huge market for it…Now if we are talking fast food then there you go, its all in the title…Fast food, nothing that comes from those places are meant to be anything friendly. I applaud them for taking action on offering healthier options but truth be told I would not even drink the coffee at McDonalds let alone a sugar free ice cream. Remember sugar free does not mean low in calories or fat…

Lets face it, sugar-free products taste like crap.

Most sugar-free products contain chemicals that are worse for us than just eating the sugar/carbs in moderation. I know if I was reading a menu that listed dishes such as; Diabetic Friendly, or HIV Friendly, or Overweight Friendly, I would steer clear of that food, and that location as well. We’ve got it a lot better than a lot of people who are faced with some serious illness issues, so I figure my way through it and don’t sweat the small stuff because I consider myself lucky that this is all I have to deal with!


I love Diet Coke! I’m not fond of the real stuff after drinking so much diet over the years…

I don’t trust the label sugar free on anything. My focus is primarily on carbohydrates when I dine at a restaurant or at home. I also try to look toward leaner kinds of protein such as fish or shellfish (which I love). There is also something almost magical about adding a salad to a meal that helps keep my numbers low, so I try to include that as well. There are plenty of low-carb choices at most restaurants that will taste just fine and will be compatible with the eating lifestyle we should be following.

It’s a very bad habit for anyone with diabetes to regularly bolus us for high-carb meals and think that they are eating healthy because they have their numbers covered. They are only fooling themselves. Instead of giving in to temptation, in the long runs it’s better to make healthy food choices at restaurants. Those choices are usually there if people take the time to look at a menu and think things through.

I sort of think that one could just say that it’s bad for anyone to regularly eat high-carb meals, diabetes or not?

I totally agree!

Oh, Mistercondo,
Who are the restaurant chefs to turn to to learn about what constitutes diabetic friendly foods? I was talking with a friend-chef recently over what he serves to a retirement community in an effort to learn what I’d do if I were there. Frankly, chefs can’t turn to the ADA and satisfy me. If they have a T1 friend, they may get ideas on items to add: vegetable side dishes.
I can’t even get my local Jewel to stock Dannon’s Diabetic Friendly yogurt, and I spend $900 a month there. SO, it’s unlikely any restaurant I return to once a month will spend anything on items I’d like.
I choose vegetable sides and get along well as long as they have grilled items. I wouldn’t go to a restaurant that had only meat swathed in bread crumbs.
Sugar free icecream won’t do. I want 3-6 gram carbs. I think we’re all different in what we consider to be diabetic friendly!

A cup of blueberries has more carbs than does 1/2 c. of ice cream. I’m not sure I’d agree that ice cream is “high carb.”