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Traveling With T2D: Tips for Eating Well

Traveling can be a notorious deterrent to staying on track with your regular eating habits. It may often feel challenging to navigate different food environments and make selections that align with your type 2 diabetes goals.

While there isn’t anything wrong with treating yourself to a favorite meal or snack, traveling can create an additional challenge in eating the foods that stabilize your blood sugar. I offer tips to keep your blood sugar levels steady, no matter where you are.

Road trips: tips for long drives

Driving long distances can be mentally exhausting, not to mention a total snooze! It may involve excess exposure to fast food options for any of your meals, making it challenging to avoid.

A little strategic planning before the road trip can go a long way. To avoid the need to stop at rest areas or fast food restaurants often, equip your vehicle with a cooler or insulated bag full of your favorite snacks. Be sure to pack a variety of nutritious textures and flavors to satisfy your hunger and cravings.

Packing snacks high in protein can help keep you fuller for longer. Some ideas include turkey jerky, hard-boiled eggs, low-fat string cheese, carrot sticks, and peanut butter packets. Try packing your favorite trail mix blend! Remember to pack beverages like water and sugar-free flavored seltzers.

Eating well during air travel

Navigating airports and traveling by airplane can be a stressful yet exciting adventure. But the airport is an environment where prices seemingly increase for any item. Food is usually more expensive than at your local grocery store, and bars are open all day.

It may be challenging to stick to your habits when the airport feels like a parallel universe. But finding familiarity within a stressful situation may also provide some comfort. So, navigate the airport for ready-to-go meals or snacks such as low-sugar protein bars, low-fat yogurt, unsalted nuts with a serving of fruit, or whole-grain crackers with string cheese.

Be sure also to bring an empty reusable water bottle to fill up before boarding. Staying hydrated helps curb cravings and possibly reduces gastrointestinal issues associated with air travel!

Tips for ordering at restaurants

If you are someone who eats most of their meals at home, eating in restaurants all day may feel like uncharted territory. With your usual go-to options likely on the menu, it’s easy to divert to comforting yet indulgent alternatives. Here are some ideas to navigate healthy choices while eating out.

Be mindful of quantity

When at restaurants, it’s often enticing to order a combination of appetizers, entrees, side dishes, or desserts. Although temporary, adopting these travel habits can lead to abnormally high blood glucose levels.

Instead, aim to consume a comparable volume of food to your habits at home. But, if the appetizers are too appealing to resist, opt for 2 appetizer options as your main meal or order for the table to share.

Consider the nutrients on your plate

When ordering from the menu, aim to choose a meal with vegetables on half of the plate, with the remainder being a combination of protein and whole carbohydrates. Substitutions can be your friend! Getting a side salad instead of fries can improve your blood sugar control. Listen to your body and make a choice that aligns with your health goals.

A final reminder about sugary beverages

The final travel tip is to be mindful of beverage consumption related to sugar intake. Whether you enjoy a fruit cocktail, glass of wine, soda, or juice—these beverages can significantly increase caloric intake and be a source of blood sugar spikes. Enjoy alcohol or sugary drinks in moderation.

In addition to keeping in mind these travel tips related to nutrition, be sure to have your diabetes supplies packed no matter how you choose to get around. Type 2 diabetes management doesn't have to take a back seat to your daily travel adventures!

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