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Eating Out, Eating Well: How Easy Can Healthy Eating Be?

Published on 
April 26, 2024
November 16, 2023
Virta Health
Virta Health
Virta Health

November is National Diabetes Month. There's no better moment to underscore the critical need for menu inclusivity, particularly when the stakes are as high as our health, longevity, and well-being.

In a world where we rely on ease and convenience, dining out or grabbing meals from fast-food restaurants has become the go-to option for many Americans. But amid the allure of these quick and easy dining options, consumers face a  huge roadblock on the journey to a healthier lifestyle: more healthy options on menus.

Fast-food restaurants fall short in catering to the over 40% of our population grappling with obesity and diabetes, with fewer than 5% of these establishments offering low-carb alternatives on their menus. To opt for healthier choices, customers are left to decipher a “secret menu” of low carb options that remains largely hidden from the public.

Additionally, the restaurant industry benefits from the promotion of large portion sizes, overconsumption, and the reinforcement of unhealthy eating habits at the expense of public health and overall well-being.

Inclusive eating options are critical to change the health of our nation. More than one in three Americans qualify as prediabetic, but many have limited access to healthy and convenient dining options. Healthy eating has been proven to prevent and even reverse diabetes, and making eating out more accessible is the first step.

The Playbook: Type 2 Diabetes-Friendly Menu Items From America’s Top Fast-Food Restaurants

Eating out with diabetes and diet considerations can be as easy as it is for anyone else. By making simple swaps for low-carb options, you can continue to enjoy your favorite restaurants without sacrificing wholesome eating. To show how easy these changes can be, we’ve outlined some diabetes-friendly menu options and simple swaps for some of the top fast-food chains in America.


No need to give up your go-to drink order. Instead of regular syrups opt for sugar-free options, and consider using half-and-half or heavy cream as a substitute for milk. You can still enjoy your favorite breakfast sandwich – just ask for it to be heated up without the bun (yes, they will do it!). Alternatively, you can opt for the Egg Bites, a fantastic low-carb option.


You can have your health and Chick-fil-A too! Enjoy the the classic chicken sandwich, just opt for the grilled version and skip the bun, ketchup, fried onions, and BBQ or "Special Sauce." In the mood for breakfast? Try out any breakfast sandwiches and opt out of the bun and ketchup.

Taco Bell

You can savor the flavors of your favorite tacos without the tortillas or shells. Looking for another great option? Check out the Power Bowl, which lets you skip the beans and rice and allows you to load up on extra lettuce, your choice of meat, cheese, and guacamole. Add on your favorite toppings of extra lettuce, spicy ranch, creamy jalapeño sauce, jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions.


You can have your favorite Chipotle meal while keeping things healthy and delicious. Plenty of options exist if you are in the mood for a bowl or salad! Choose your favorite protein and add on some fajita veggies. Top it all off with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Let’s skip the tortilla wrap, shells, rice/beans/corn, and dressing to make this a tasty low-carb option.

Navigating the world of diabetes-friendly dining selections is easier than you think! With a few simple tweaks and choices that align with a diabetes-friendly meal, you can still indulge in your favorite restaurant dishes while prioritizing your health.

While these are just a few examples of switches to make fast-food dining an attainable choice while eating healthy, these menu options and modifications must become more readily accessible to customers. As we eagerly await fast-food restaurants to catch up, we encourage you to take charge of your health, as doing so holds more influence than you might think. By taking the initiative and leading by choice, consumers like you have the power to encourage restaurants to create even more healthy available options. No secret menus needed!

By staying informed and making mindful selections, managing diabetes becomes a more achievable goal. Prioritizing your well-being while still enjoying the food you consume is key to diabetes prevention and reversal. Let’s embark on the road to reversal together, one delicious meal at a time!

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any advice relating to your health. View full disclaimer

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