Manage Your Diabetes on Holiday
This month is all about diabetes. It is Diabetes Awareness Month, with today, Wednesday 14 November being World Diabetes Day. With diet being an essential component of diabetes management it would be a crime for me not to add my 2 cents worth to the conversation.
Chatting to my diabetic patients, I have come to realise that going on holiday can be quite a challenge when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. The change in routine, or the lack of routine, makes glycaemic control very difficult.
The theme for this year's World Diabetes Day is: Diabetes concerns every family. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I am an advocate for the family enjoying a healthy lifestyle together.
Holidays are a time for family. Many people with diabetes will throw caution to the wind and get back to it when they get home because they don't want to inconvenience the family with their diabetes management. Others bend over backwards to maintain their control on their own with very little support. Either way, it is stressful!
Although including the family won’t remove the stress of diabetes management completely, having the family on your side and practicing a healthy lifestyle alongside you, will make the holiday more fun for everyone.
10 General rules for managing blood sugar for type 2 diabetics
- Eat regular, balanced meals.
- Choose carbohydrate foods that contain plenty of fibre and have a low GI.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates with a high GI.
- Eat a protein-rich food with every meal.
- Avoid fatty foods.
- Limit your intake of saturated fat.
- Eat more unsaturated fat.
- Eat plenty of vegetables everyday.
- Eat fruit in small quantities everyday.
- Drink plenty of water.
Considering that these rules apply to everyone and not just diabetics, it means that they can be applied wherever you are! With a little planning and mindfulness you can remain healthy while on holiday. You may still have to exercise more constraint than the other people you are with, but you will be better off for it. Unfortunately your diabetes doesn’t take a holiday when you do.
10 Rules for managing diabetes on holiday
- Be prepared! Plan ahead. If you are going on a self-catering holiday, plan your menu for the entire holiday ahead of time.
- Shop according to your planned menu. Take as much food with you as possible.
- Plan your treats too! A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a few treats. Take some dark chocolate, low GI biscuits and popcorn.
- Don’t forget your drinks! Take plenty of water with you. When you need a break from the water, make sure you have some sugar-free alternatives available.
- If you enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage, make the best choice you can. Choose light beer, dry wine (preferably as a spritzer with soda water) or whiskey and water.
- Eat your breakfast! Don’t be tempted to skip this important meal! Even if it is a little later than usual.
- Indulge in small amounts of your favourite forbidden fruit. A little goes a long way. Apparently we only taste the first few bites of our food. Make the most of it!
- Share whenever you can. When eating out portion sizes can be way too big.
- When faced with an all-you-can-eat buffet, don’t feel pressured into eating 'til you burst. Keep the basic rules in mind and have smaller portions of whatever strikes your fancy.
- Move. As tempting as it may be to sit and gaze at the view, holidays offer wonderful opportunities for exercise. And the bonus is you will doing it in the fresh air!
Keep it simple. Enjoy good food and relaxation and return home even healthier than when you left.