Eating Abroad with Prediabetes and Diabetes

farmersmarket picIf you have prediabetes or diabetes (either Type 1 or 2), you most likely are aware that you can eat what you like as long as you monitor your carbohydrate intake. Counting carbohydrates as part of a healthy meal plan will help you control your blood glucose. When you travel abroad you should try to maintain a similar healthy eating plan as you do at home. Consuming a diet that emphasizes healthy whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy or nondairy alternatives, lean protein foods (animal or plant-based), a variety of whole grains and healthy fats is a healthy plan that is beneficial for everyone, including those with prediabetes or diabetes.

Meeting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, before you leave if you haven’t already, is a smart investment in your health as he/she can provide medical nutrition therapy, as well as create a personalized meal plan tailored to your particular health needs.

While you travel and dine abroad, try to eat healthy so you will feel well. Take the time to get at least an hour of exercise daily (with your physician’s approval if needed). And, yes, walking in the Louvre counts! Walking when you travel is a great way to see new sights plus get a nice workout at the same time. Bring a pedometer with you when you travel so you can track your steps. If you are in good physical shape, aim for 10,000 steps per day (which is approximately five miles).
Here are ten tips to help you stay healthy abroad whether you have prediabetes or diabetes (Type 1 or 2):
1. Make at lease half of your plate fruits and/or vegetables at lunch and dinner.
2. Instead of sweet pastries for breakfast, opt for plain yogurt with nuts and fresh fruit or a veggie omelette and whole grain toast.  3. Avoid sweetened beverages. Drink water, sparkling water, tea or coffee instead.
4. Limit refined breads and cereals whenever possible. Ask for whole grain breads and cereal when available.
5. For lunch, try a sandwich and a side salad or have a large salad as an entree.
6. Going out for dinner? Grilled fish or chicken with sautéed vegetables and salad is always a great choice. So is an entree salad with either a vegetarian protein such as beans, nuts or tofu, or grilled shrimp or chicken.
7. If you want dessert, fresh fruit is the best choice. But if it’s a rich dessert that grabs your eye, ask for a couple spoons and share with your companions.
8. Make sure to get at least an hour of exercise daily. Exercise will help control your blood glucose and manage your weight as you enjoy your journey, taking in the new sights, culture and flavor of new foods.
9. Visit local food markets to stock up on fruits, vegetables, olives and nuts to have available for snacks.
10. Check your blood glucose and adjust your food and/or medication accordingly so you can get the most out of your time away.
For additional tips on traveling abroad and adjusting insulin, visit this link

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012.). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s