Hola! Here are our favorite places to eat in Iowa that are diabetes-friendly and the perfect options to try the next time you are thinking about eating out.


Quick Grab and Go

At times, life can get a bit crazy, and when in a time crunch, fast food may be the only option. Depending on where you live in Iowa, your options for fast food vary greatly.

🥪 Availability Award: SUBWAY

This may or may not surprise you, but Subway has the most locations in Iowa at 285. Subway may not be the hottest place to eat in Iowa, but it is the most available, especially for those in rural Iowa.

The new ‘No Bready Bowls’ are a great carb-friendly option with 12 different bowl options to pick from. Along with these ready options, you can further customize what goes into your bowl!

🍳 The bowls contain a variety of protein and veggies. Protein options include chicken, steak, ham, turkey, roast beef, and even tuna.

Next time you are at Subway, skip that famous footlong sandwich and try out the new ‘No Bready Bowls’!

🥗 New Trend Award: BIG ACAI BOWL

A little more selective to certain areas in Iowa, Big Acai Bowl, is expanding quickly and is one of the hottest places for people with diabetes to eat at.

🫐 For those who are unfamiliar with this place, you are probably wondering what is acai. Well, acai is a berry that comes from the acai palm tree which is native to Central and South America. The berries have large-sized seeds in them. They are most similar to grapes both in size and structure. They are low in sugar making them a desirable food option.

At Big Acai Bowl, you’ll start with picking your acai which is the base. There are flavored and unflavored options with total carbs ranging from 16 grams to 22 grams per 4 ounces. Next, you’ll add toppings such as fruits, seeds, nuts, peanut or almond butter. All bowls are topped with granola and banana. They also have smoothies, toasts, and salads available.

Again, a great carb-friendly option with the ability to customize to your liking and a great option no matter the time of day. Check out the Big Acai Bowl the next time you need a quick meal!

Big Acai BowlSit Down Restaurants

🥪Surprisingly Healthy: Mexican Restaurants

Similar to Subway, Mexican food restaurants can be found throughout the state of Iowa, not just in the highly populated areas. Mexican food restaurants can be a great place to eat for those with diabetes.

You are probably thinking how Mexican food restaurants can be a great option for me as they offer chips, queso, rice, beans, tortillas, etc. Well, it is all about the choices you make and they offer the ability to make those smarter food choices.

✔ Try to skip those chips before your meal.
✔ Next, focus on meals that contain vegetables and lean protein. (Fajitas!!!) Don’t forget you can substitute corn tortillas in place of flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are lower in calories, total fat, and carbohydrates.
✔ Lastly, don’t be afraid to take your leftovers home 🙂
🥩High in Protein Award: Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse has an extensive menu with many protein options. Starting with steaks, the options are endless here. Steaks are not as lean of meat as some others, but are higher in protein and provide your body with necessary vitamins.

Outback Steakhouse also offers multiple grilled chicken options as well as seafood such as grilled shrimp or salmon if you are looking for a leaner protein. Another advantage to eating here is that not only do you have a lot of protein options, but you also have a lot of diabetes-smart side options. Side options that tend to be lower in carbohydrates include salads, fresh or grilled vegetables, and some soups to name a few.