Diet & Diabetes: Healthy Eating On Holiday

Diabetes / Healthy Diet

Are you setting your sights on cloudless skies and warmer climates this summer? Summer holidays often promise better weather, long, lazy days, and the opportunity to sample local delicacies and tempting treats.

A concern for many of us might be the types of food and drink available abroad, and these dishes may raise valid questions about just how good they are for the safe management of diabetes.

But, with a bit of planning, you'll find you can enjoy exploring new cuisines on your travels – and you needn’t ditch all your good habits just because you’re going on holiday.

Although we often like to relax our healthy eating habits whilst away, try to remember how it could affect the management of your diabetes.

To help, we're giving you a snapshot of popular foods and dishes from five top European countries - Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Turkey – and help you to understand how to make healthier choices on your travels.

For those who carb count, holidays can mean eating different carb-containing dishes, and snacks that you may be unfamiliar with. It may be worth reviewing the amount of carbohydrate in foods typical to that country before going away. The carbs and cals app can be a great way of estimating carb content or, if you have a carbs and cals book, taking it with you might make things easier.

You may also want to stock up on supplies to monitor your blood sugar more often while you’re away. Getting some advice from your diabetes team before you go could also give you the best chance of keeping your blood sugar in your target range.

Top tips for holiday health

  • Make the most of fresh fruit and vegetables. Choose ingredients that are local to the area for maximum flavour.
  • Scope out the local supermarket and take healthy snacks and packed lunches with you on day trips and when exploring further afield.
  • Try choosing wholegrains – the additional fibre will help to keep you full for longer.
  • Think about your choice of ice cream. Look for sugar free alternatives or try natural plain frozen yoghurt with fruit.
  • Swap sugary cocktails and beers for spirits with diet mixers.
  • Alcohol makes hypos more likely, especially for those on insulin or some Type 2 medications. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach and have a starchy snack before bed if you do drink.
  • Avoid anything fried and stick to baked, grilled or barbecued foods.
  • Choose leaner protein like beans, pulses, fish, eggs and lean meat.
  • Keep puddings and cakes as a treat.
  • Try to be as active as possible – go for a swim, play tennis or simply have an evening stroll after your meal.

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