Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Eating Well While Traveling

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Angela Hepner, MEd, RD, LD, CDE

Some hotels have microwaves and/or refrigerators available to their guests, allowing for simple meal preparation. Sometimes these are provided for free, and sometimes there’s a fee. You may need to supply your own dishes and utensils, and you’ll need to bring food or find a place to shop locally.

Hotels and lodges that cater to skiers and other outdoor winter sportspeople often have a 24-hour hot beverage bar. Using hot water from the bar, you can make instant oatmeal or soup or any beverage mixes that you bring for yourself.

If your hotel or lodgings serve food, such as a complimentary breakfast, call ahead to ask what items are served and how are they prepared. If the hotel has a full-service restaurant, you can likely review the menu online or have a copy faxed to you so you can plan ahead. And it’s always a good idea to research what other restaurants are located nearby in case you find you need other options.

Ask the expert
Need some help figuring this all out? Make an appointment with a registered dietitian before your trip. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover a certain number of sessions per year with a dietitian. A dietitian can help you sort out all kinds of dining dilemmas, including the following:

• How to plan meals when you are away from home

• How to make healthy choices when eating out

• How to estimate portion sizes and carbohydrate amounts as accurately as possible

• What foods and beverages can be used to treat low blood glucose

• How to fit alcoholic beverages into your meal plan and how to anticipate their effect on your blood glucose level

• How to plan for the effects of changes in your physical activity level on your diabetes control and when and how to adjust your food intake to compensate for them

If you take any medicines as part of your diabetes treatment plan, your dietitian may consult with other members of your diabetes care team to recommend any medicine adjustments that may help you to maintain optimal diabetes control during your travels.

Take notes for next time
Traveling is always a learning experience, and the things you learn on one trip are often transferable to the next. To be sure you remember the lessons learned, take notes during your trip. Keep track of what worked well to keep your blood glucose in range, and what you might do differently the next time around. Jot down questions you’d like to ask your dietitian or other diabetes team members once you get back home.

The better you feel while traveling, the more you’ll enjoy your trip. And the more time your blood glucose levels are in your target range, the better you’ll feel. Stay healthy — and have more fun! — by planning ahead for the best possible control. Safe travels!

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Also in this article:
Take-Away Dining Tips
Using Your Hands to Estimate Portions



More articles on Nutrition & Meal Planning



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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