Q: What to Eat at Your Father’s Day Cookout When You Have Type 2 Diabetes


Q: What to Eat at Your Father’s Day Cookout When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Being a father means you are already skilled at making the best choices for your family. When you have type 2 diabetes, you have the additional responsibility of making good choices to prevent long-term complications. 

You want to be there for your family, and that means managing your diabetes so you can live an active, healthy life. 

With Father’s Day right around the corner and the summer months ahead, cookout season is upon us. This means it’s time to get prepared to make the best choices at your next cookout to prevent big jumps in your blood sugar levels.

Father’s Day Cookouts and Type 2 Diabetes

It’s no secret that the typical cookout menu is not designed with health in mind. Fatty meats, carbohydrate-heavy dishes and desserts, and high-calorie and sugary beverages are all cookout staples.

While no foods are 100% off-limits, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by throwing caution to the wind and indulging in all your favorites in one sitting. You can enjoy the meal while still managing your blood sugar.

Keys to Choosing Foods at a Cookout

Portion Control: The food at a cookout is usually plentiful, and it’s tradition to load up a plate (or two). But, instead, keep your portions small. This is especially important if it’s a food high in carbohydrates like potato or pasta salad. 

Try the Plate Method: This method is a simple way to prevent your meal from spiking your blood sugar. Here’s an example: 

  • ½ your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Choose a lettuce salad or veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and peppers from the veggie tray.
  • ¼ of your plate should be lean protein. Choose grilled chicken or shrimp, a modest portion of steak (think the size of the palm of your hand), or a pork chop. 
  • ¼ of your plate can be a carbohydrate food. This could mean the bun (or even better, ½ a bun if you want to enjoy carbs in another dish too) for your hamburger, a fruit, or a small portion of pasta or potato salad. 

Watch the Sauces: Barbeque, ketchup, and dressings can be hidden sources of sugar. A bit of ketchup on a burger is no big deal, but if you like to drown your meat in BBQ sauce, be sure to limit the carbs somewhere else. Another option is to bring your own favorite low-sugar BBQ sauce. 

Don’t Graze: Food is pretty much always around at a cookout. It’s tempting to grab a few potato chips or a cracker with dip every time you pass the table. Grazing might not seem like much food, but it can add up to big changes in your blood sugar. Instead, have your meal and then stay away from the table.

Redefine Your Celebration

Sharing a meal with friends and family is an important part of togetherness. But, it’s not the only part. 

Instead of making the meal take center stage, put more focus on activities you can do together. Play a board game, get out the bags or ring toss, share stories around a campfire or play with the grandkids. 

You deserve to be celebrated for all the love and care you give your family. And you also deserve to be healthy and feel good by making the right choices to manage your type 2 diabetes. 

Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

Makes 8 servings


1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt 

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast and thighs

1 medium onion (diced)

4 garlic cloves (diced or crushed)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup sugar-free ketchup

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp sugar-free sweetener of choice

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp liquid smoke

8 large lettuce leaves

2 cups shredded cabbage (optional)


1. Mix together paprika, chili powder, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Toss chicken with spice mixture to coat. 

2. Place coated chicken in the crockpot with diced onion and garlic. 

3. In a separate bowl, mix together tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, sweetener, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and liquid smoke. Pour mixture over chicken in crockpot. (optional: use 1 ½ cups premade sugar-free BBQ sauce instead)

4. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender and shreds easily. 

5. Shred chicken in crockpot and allow to continue cooking uncovered for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

6. To serve, scoop ½ cup onto each lettuce leaf and top with shredded cabbage.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories 152.6 kcal, Total fat 5.6g, Saturated fat 1.3g, Sodium 760mg, Total carbohydrate 7.8g, Fiber 1g, Protein 21.7g. 

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