We all travel from one place to another, at some point of time either for business purpose, for exploring the new places/areas or just to relax and get away from the busy routine-like life. The most important thing to be considered during travelling is our eating habits, which decides our health at the end. Especially if you have diabetes, this point needs to be taken care more in which healthy eating is an essential asset of your diabetes care plan. As diabetes can be easily managed through diet, wherever you go, the habit of healthy eating should also go hand-in-hand. Sometimes it might become difficult for you to stick with your healthy meal plan but with few easy steps this can be made possible too.
Planning: Apart from other aspects which you think is required during travelling, also plan about caring for your diabetes – like how much medicines/insulin required to purchase, how some changes in your physical activity will affect your blood glucose, number of health care services are available at your concerned destination and also spend time to research about the number of healthy food options which is the key to manage your sugar levels during travelling. You can think of what all healthy food items will be available while travelling which you can consume and also, what will be available at your destination. This might take some time but this will keep your sugar levels on the safer zone and will protect you from further complications.
Pack healthy snacks: You can carry some healthy well wrapped snacks with you like vegetable rolls, fruits, sandwiches (veg/non veg), high fibre biscuits, and crackers, some form of hard sugar candies or glucose tablets, in case of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose level).
Always know the food you eat: Try your best to figure the amount of carbohydrate present in food that you are eating, especially in case if you are taking insulin. Make sure you take the insulin on right time and in right doses, to avoid low blood glucose levels. Also test your blood glucose levels before meal and after meal, to check whether new foods are affecting you or not. It is important to maintain your blood glucose levels to avoid problems during travelling.
Be ready to treat low glucose: While travelling the normal routine gets disrupted, inclusive of both eating and medicines/insulin consumption, also because of sight seeing the physical activity also increases all over. Due to these changes, it’s good to be prepared for low blood glucose levels, if it strikes, so be prepared to treat yourself by keeping some glucose tablets.
Try to stick to your meal plan: Before leaving for the trip, learn how to count carbohydrates which will further help you to be more flexible with your meals. You can always meet a diabetes specialist nutritionist to learn more about how to plan your meal before your trip.
Few more handy tips which can be of use:
- Pack a cooler with foods that fit into your meal plan.
- Stop in places with many choices for eating (including fast food restaurants).
- Always check to see if a meal will be served when you buy your ticket, so that you can mention your food options
- Remember that meals may not be served at times that fit into your usual schedule of meals. (Depending on the airline, a meal may not be served and a snack may not be offered if a flight is less than four hours.). So always keep a handy snack in advance in your handbag in case the meal is not served on time.
- Order any special meal requests in advance.
- Keep snacks that will not get spoilt in your carry-on bag (to help avoid poor food choices and long waiting lines at airport restaurants).
- Before placing your order for food or begin your meal think ahead to avoid overeating especially on cruise ships or with “all-you-can-eat” buffets.
- Keep track of carbohydrate-containing foods, essential for blood glucose control.
- Use a smaller plate to help keep portion sizes under control. Rely on simple measurements to decide on food portions.
- Make sure to ask about the preparation of foods so you can make better choices.
- Make sure you do not drink alcohol empty stomach which can lead to low blood glucose levels.
- Try to avoid sugar-based drinks/mixers like fruit and fruit juice drinks with large amounts of carbohydrates they may rise your blood glucose control.
- Do not drink and drive! Never get behind the wheel unless you know your blood glucose is within a safe range.
- In case of long driving keep checking your blood glucose levels to avoid complications.