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Diabetes Tips: Eating Well at Casual Summer Events

separator Summertime may be one of the most challenging seasons when it comes to eating well. Even though there’s an abundance of healthy, fresh produce at this time of year, there’s also the tendency to go to ballparks and picnics and take things too far with potato salad, deviled eggs, hot dogs, cheesy dips, etc. Here are some ways you can handle the challenge:

  • Eat a little something before the event. This helps control your appetite when you get there.
  • Drink a lot of water before and during the event. This helps keep you feeling full.
  • Take part in any exercise the group you’re with may be doing. If they’re not doing anything, you can initiate a group walk, a softball game, etc.

Foods to gravitate towards:
Green salads (with just a small amount of dressing)
Items containing dried beans, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.
Lean meats, like grilled chicken
Limited amounts of whole wheat bread (whole wheat provides healthy fiber)

Foods to avoid:
Cheesy, creamy sauces and chips
Anything fried
Pizza (this raises blood sugar quickly for a lot of people) 
Sugary sodas
Breaded foods (you can often remove the layer of breading)
Salads containing lots of mayonnaise
Most desserts

It’s easy to say all this, but when you’re at the ballpark and you really want the pizza (or nachos with cheese dip, etc.), it can be hard to resist. If you find yourself giving in, it’s not the end of the world! Stick with the healthy stuff the rest of the day. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over a mistake.

What about alcohol?
This can be a tricky issue. Generally, a good rule of thumb is that an occasional drink is not harmful if your blood sugar is well controlled, if your healthcare team has agreed that a drink now and then is okay and if you know how alcohol affects your diabetes.

American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes, Alexandria Virginia, 2002; C. Guber, B. Thorpe. Carol Guber’s Type 2 Diabetes Life Plan, Broadway Books, New York, 2002; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
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