Suggestions for Safe and Healthy Summer Eating

Nutrition information provided here is not a substitute for your individual self-management care plan. Any changes should be discussed with your healthcare team.

Picnics, potlucks, sack lunches and travelmeals are a part of our summer routine that can sometimes make blood glucose harder to manage

| Aug 1, 2005

Summer activities are in full swing with ball games in the park, family reunions and vacations. The warm weather draws us to the great outdoors for fun as well as mealtimes. Picnics, potlucks, sack lunches and travel meals are a part of our summer routine that can sometimes make blood glucose harder to manage.

Here are some suggestions for maintaining a healthy nutrition program this summer.

  • Avoid going to picnics and parties overly hungry—this may tempt you to overeat. Eat a small snack before you go if serving time might be delayed.
  • Attempt to stick to a meal and snack schedule to keep your blood sugar, energy and moods stable.
  • If you are traveling, pack a cooler for a better selection of foods instead of being limited to the choices at convenience stores and roadside restaurants.
  • Prepare meals that are balanced to sustain your energy. Eat adequate lean protein or other protein-rich dishes to keep you fuller longer along with healthy carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, including corn and peas. Or choose fresh fruits such as melon wedges and grape clusters or make mixed fruit kabobs. Enjoy fresh vegetables with your favorite seasoning or a relish tray with a yogurt-based dip, as well as vegetable salads with healthful dressings.
  • Stay well hydrated. Summer heat can cause dehydration, which leads to increased hunger (because your body seeks fluid from foods), increased blood glucose levels, headache and fatigue
  • Keep plenty of water and low-calorie drinks on hand so you won’t be tempted to quench your thirst with sweetened drinks laden with unwanted carbs and empty calories. You may need to bring your own liquid refreshments when away from home.
  • Limit high-sodium foods like hotdogs and chips, which can cause water retention and affect your blood pressure. Try grilled chicken breast or turkey tenders without a bun (to limit the carbs) and serve vegetables on the side.
  • Keep food stored at safe temperatures to avoid food-related gastrointestinal illnesses that can ruin your day and upset your diabetes control.

Keep Blood Glucose in the Ballpark

  • Pack your glucose meter in the picnic basket and treat it with special care in hot weather. Store your meter out of direct sunlight. Extreme heat or cold can cause meter malfunction.
  • Keep insulin refrigerated or at least no warmer than 86°F, as insulin can be damaged by heat and will no longer be effective. Consider storing insulin in a cooler when you’re traveling or at a picnic, but be careful not to let it freeze, as that also will destroy it. For information about safe room-temperature storage of insulin and duration of storage at those temperatures as approved by the FDA, see the Diabetes Health Insulin Reference Guide.

And Don’t Forget—

  • Maintain your walking or other exercise program during the summer months, but be sure to exercise safely in hot temperatures. Remember to protect your skin from the sun’s rays and to stay well hydrated.
  • Carry a first aid kit so you’ll be prepared for cuts, scrapes, blisters or potential emergencies.

Have a great summer, and enjoy sun-filled days along with tasty, healthful, safe summer foods.

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Nutrition Advice

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