The holiday season is upon us, which means your family might be rushing around and grabbing more meals at a mall food court than you’d care to admit. “We eat out so much more in December,” admits Janet, whose 10-year-old daughter has type 1 diabetes. “Between holiday shopping, entertaining, traveling, and running errands, who has time to cook? It’s just easier to get something from a restaurant or fast food place.”

However, when you have a child with type 1, eating out can create extra stress, too. Will the ingredients that restaurants use cause unsafe spikes in blood sugar levels? Registered dietitian Allison Stowell says eating out more frequently around the holidays is fine, as long as you plan for it ahead of time. “Beginning with breakfast, strategize how you will fit in a special meal, especially if your child wants to have a small dessert or another ‘sometimes’ food at the restaurant,” she says. “Be very careful about the choices made at other meals so that they have ‘space’ for their restaurant meal.”

Since you have to be vigilant about carb-counting and monitoring to keep your child’s blood sugar in check, seeking out restaurants that provide nutritional information is key. To help save you time and trouble, we’ve compiled links to some chains’ nutrition facts charts, all in one place, so you can calculate carbs and make responsible meal choices before you go or on your phone while you wait in line. If you don’t find your favorite restaurant in the list below, search online to see if it posts a nutrition facts chart. Bon appétit!


Auntie Anne’s®

Baja Fresh®

Burger King®




Jack in the Box®

Kentucky Fried Chicken™


Orange Julius®

Panda Express®

Panera Bread®

Pizza Hut™

Ruby Tuesday®


Taco Bell®
*Taco Bell Diabetic Exchange List

T.G.I. Fridays®



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More holiday topics:
Healthy Holiday Treat Recipes
Giving Back: Kids Who’ve Made a Difference
Disney’s Type 1 Diabetes Recipe Index

See all seasonal topics >