9 Ways to Control Carbs on Vacation

Endless buffets, open bars, frequent snacking—it’s no wonder people with diabetes’ blood sugars spike while on vacation! But a few simple tricks can help you eat smart and keep your levels healthy while away.

Health Monitor Staff

Food, drink, friends and family—it’s vacation time again! And that means you’ll be facing every food challenge under the sun. Unfortunately, having diabetes can put a damper on the festivities when temptation is everywhere. Here’s how to enjoy your trip without sending your blood sugar sky-high.

Make every calorie count
Before finishing that slice of steak or cake, try this: Take a bite, savor it slowly, and ask yourself if you really want another. If the flavor, texture and satisfaction aren’t there, put down your fork.

Call ahead
Phone restaurants before you go and ask them what’s on the menu. That will help you plan for your insulin needs and get a sense of what you’ll be able to eat.

Ask for no fat with a side of lemon
When placing your order, ask for your protein to be grilled without butter or oil. Request fresh lemon wedges and herbs for added flavor.

Have a go-to drink
If you’re drinking alcohol, choose drinks that have less sugar—small amounts of liquor mixed with club soda or diet soda, light beer, dry wine or wine spritzers (wine mixed with club soda).

Munch before you go
One of the biggest mistakes people make is going to a restaurant hungry. Enjoy a handful of nuts about half an hour before you head out: The crunchy gems are packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats that keep your hunger at bay. In fact, eating two ounces of nuts a day has been proven to help people with type 2 diabetes keep blood sugar in check and lower cholesterol.

Focus on the unique
If you’re traveling to a destination that’s known for a certain fare, enjoy entrées that include those foods. But pass on the ice cream or cookies because you can have those anytime. Plan to fit any indulgences into your day, and you won’t feel deprived.

Swap a bun for this
Lettuce wraps! Stuff with anything—a burger, veggies, cheese—for a “sandwich” that puts the focus on the filling.

Eat before you drink
Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Having a bite to eat first can slow the blood sugar-lowering effect.

Do this reality check
Try on your most form-fitting pants during your trip. If you notice they’re a bit snug, that may motivate you to be more careful about what you’re eating.

April 2013