Suggestions for Safe and Healthy Summer Eating

Summer activities are in full swing with ballgames in the park, family reunions andvacations. The warm weather draws us to thegreat outdoors for fun as well as mealtimes.Picnics, potlucks, sack lunches and travelmeals are a part of our summer routine thatcan sometimes make blood glucose harder tomanage.

Here are some suggestions for maintaining ahealthy nutrition program this summer.

  • Avoid going to picnics and parties overlyhungry—this may tempt you to overeat. Eata small snack before you go if serving timemight be delayed.
  • Attempt to stick to a meal and snackschedule to keep your blood sugar, energyand moods stable.
  • If you are traveling, pack a cooler for a betterselection of foods instead of being limitedto the choices at convenience stores androadside restaurants.
  • Prepare meals that are balanced to sustainyour energy. Eat adequate lean protein orother protein-rich dishes to keep you fullerlonger along with healthy carbohydratesfrom starchy vegetables, includingcorn and peas. Or choose freshfruits such as melon wedges andgrape clusters or make mixedfruit kabobs. Enjoy freshvegetables with your favoriteseasoning or a relish traywith a yogurt-based dip,as well as vegetable saladswith healthful dressings.
  • Stay well hydrated.Summer heat can causedehydration, which leads toincreased hunger (becauseyour body seeks fluid fromfoods), increased blood glucoselevels, headache and fatigue
  • Keep plenty of water and low-caloriedrinks on hand so you won’t be temptedto quench your thirst with sweetened drinksladen with unwanted carbs and emptycalories. You may need to bring your ownliquid refreshments when away from home.
  • Limit high-sodium foods like hotdogs andchips, which can cause water retention andaffect your blood pressure. Try grilled chickenbreast or turkey tenders without a bun (tolimit the carbs) and serve vegetables on theside.
  • Keep food stored at safe temperatures to avoidfood-related gastrointestinal illnesses that canruin your day and upset your diabetes control.

Keep Blood Glucose in the Ballpark

  • Pack your glucose meter in the picnic basketand treat it with special care in hot weather.Store your meter out of direct sunlight.Extreme heat or cold can cause metermalfunction.
  • Keep insulin refrigerated or at least nowarmer than 86°F, as insulin can bedamaged by heat and will no longer beeffective. Consider storing insulin in a coolerwhen you’re traveling or at a picnic, butbe careful not to let it freeze, as that alsowill destroy it. For information about saferoom-temperature storage of insulin andduration of storage at those temperaturesas approved by the FDA, see the DiabetesHealth Insulin Reference Guide.

And Don’t Forget—

  • Maintain your walking or other exerciseprogram during the summer months, but besure to exercise safely in hot temperatures.Remember to protect your skin from thesun’s rays and to stay well hydrated.
  • Carry a first aid kit so you’ll be preparedfor cuts, scrapes, blisters or potentialemergencies.

Have a great summer, and enjoy sun-filleddays along with tasty, healthful, safe summerfoods.

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