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Eating on the Go When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

By Stephanie Booth
WebMD Feature

Since you have type 2 diabetes, you’ve probably got your carb counting down at home and a good idea of what to eat to keep your blood sugar steady. Eating on the go may seem more random, but there are healthy options in every situation. You just have to know what to look for, wherever you are.

At the drive-thru:

“The average fast-food meal can run as high as 1,000 calories -- over half of what you may need for the day -- and also run up your blood sugar,” says Toby Smithson, RD, author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.

“Menu items described as ‘jumbo,’ ‘giant,’ ‘or ‘deluxe’ probably indicate an item that’s as high in sugar and fat as it is in calories.”

Your best bet: “A kids’ burger, no cheese, provides a reasonable meal with lower carbs, protein, and fat,” Smithson says. Skip the fries, and sub out salad, baby carrots, or apple slices.

In a sandwich shop:

When sandwiches are made to order, you’re able to specify what items to add on (like veggies) and what to leave off, such as fattening mayonnaise or high-sugar barbecue sauce. Plus, many delis offer a combo of half a sandwich with half a soup or salad, which can be a great option to keep carbs in check, Smithson says.

Your best bet: Choose freshly sliced lean meats over deli meats, which tend to be higher in sodium. Turkey and chicken tend to be lower in fat and sodium, so they’re good bets as long as you don’t have them in a heavy mayonnaise-based salad.

Choose whole-grain breads and wraps, since they have more nutrients than white bread. But be aware: “That doesn’t always equate to higher fiber or lower carbohydrate,” Smithson says.

Generally speaking, a 6-inch tortilla or half a sandwich bun offers 15 grams, or 1 serving, of carbs. You'll need 2-5 servings per meal. Consider putting your protein on a salad, and getting carbs from milk or fruit instead.

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