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Suggestions for Safe and Healthy Summer Eating
Anne K. Blocker, RD/LD, CDE
Aug 1, 2005
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Have a great summer, and enjoy sun-filled
days along with tasty, healthful, safe summer
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