If you have prediabetes, hopefully you’re familiar with strategies to lower your blood glucose and avoid the development of diabetes down the road. Making smart food choices and exercising regularly to keep blood glucose levels within normal range are key strategies for staying healthy. These lifestyle choices should be practiced during your daily routine, but can also be easily incorporated into your plans while traveling. It can be tempting to savor new foods and indulge on sweet treats when you’re away. Eating mindfully while you travel will let you enjoy a variety of foods, but continue to keep your blood glucose in check while you’re away. If you have questions regarding your diet while traveling, meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) prior to your departure to gain more knowledge on foods and physical activity that can keep your blood glucose within normal range. If you check your blood glucose at home and are still working on getting it into a healthy range, bring your glucometer with you so you can stay on track when you travel.
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during your travels:
- Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking sweetened beverages is a quick way for blood glucose levels to rise. Instead of sodas, juices, and sugary coffee beverages, enjoy water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea or coffee.
- For breakfast, skip the sugary cereals and baked goods. Try some oatmeal or plain yogurt with fresh fruit, or egg whites on whole grain toast. Bring some packets of plain oatmeal with you and a bag of nuts or energy bars, such as KIND, so you have healthy choices readily available.
- Make sure you eat balanced meals. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, and include whole grains and lean protein, such as tofu, beans, grilled fish, veggie burgers, eggs or chicken.
- Eat every three to five hours to keep your blood glucose level steady. Have a meal or snack which includes a carbohydrate rich in fiber, such as fruit or whole grain crackers, paired with a healthy protein, like nuts or hummus.
- For dessert, try to order fresh fruit or some plain yogurt and fruit. If you order something sweet, try to keep your portions smaller (eat mindfully and she with your dining companions).
- Make time for exercise everyday. An easy way to do this while traveling is to walk to some of your destinations. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
- Be smart about your snacks. Do not just grab the most convenient snacks; choose them wisely! Between meals, enjoy a fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus or some nuts. Stock up on some of these snacks before you leave home, and visit a local market at your destination, so you always have a healthy snack on hand.
- Do your research. If you are traveling abroad and want to try some of the traditional foods in your locale, do some research online to check ingredients or ask your waiter. If a dish is rich, order it as an appetizer or share with your dining partner. For the most part, try to stick with grilled fish, seafood, chicken or vegetarian proteins, such as tofu and beans. Enjoy salads and vegetables dishes. Have fun on your trip!
Helpful Travel Apps
For U.S. travel:
- Eat Well Eat Out-find healthy dining options in your locale complete with nutrition information. Developed with The American Diabetes Association.
- Food Tripping-healthy food establishments located wherever you are traveling
- FitTravel Guru-plan your trip and workouts with one app
- EatWell EU-the Europe healthy food travel guide
- EatAway-fully customizable diet translator for most diet restrictions
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people transform their lives with optimal nutrition. She received the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is an entrepreneur, food influencer, speaker, private practitioner, and writer. She consults with food startups and restaurants to help put health on the menu. Lisa is the author of the 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). In her private practice she specializes in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her two degrees in Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and virtually. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.