Tips for a Healthy and Safe Summer

You are probably getting used to the fact that summer is here! Summer can be tricky for people with diabetes. The kids are out of school and you’re juggling work schedules, camps and travel plans. The heat can also pose challenges when you have diabetes. During this summer craze, it is important to maintain your diabetes schedule and plan ahead. This blog will guide you through planning for summer-time travel, gatherings, grocery shopping, and foot protection. 

Traveling

Taking trips is often part of summer plans. Before traveling, it’s important to plan ahead. Obtain documentation from your healthcare provider that you have diabetes and bring a list of all your medications. Keep your blood sugar meter close by and pack extra supplies. It is a good idea to pack twice the amount of supplies and extra insulin to be safe. Be prepared for waiting in long lines, flight delays or traffic. I recommend carrying glucose tabs, which really work in the case of low blood sugar. Also, bring a healthy snack with you in case transportation is delayed or you’re waiting in traffic. In order that your insulin not overheat, store insulin in a container with a cold pack. Remember that you do not want your insulin to freeze because it may not work if frozen, therefore, store insulin near a cold pack instead of directly on ice. When flying or traveling by train, notify airport and/or train security/staff that you have diabetes.  The Transportation Safety Administration website is helpful to check out before traveling https://www.tsa.gov

 

Summer Gatherings

At those summer buffets, picnics, or parties, start by scanning the table to see what’s available. Use the plate method by filling half your plate with vegetables, one quarter, a protein and one quarter, a carbohydrate, and fruit for dessert!  

Summer is a great time to eat lots of in-season fruits and vegetables, and eat fruit for dessert. Choose high-fiber foods, such as dried beans and peas, lentils, and dark green vegetables. 

It helps to drink a big glass of water before attending social functions.  And while there, drink water or unsweetened tea.  Water with lemon or lime is very refreshing in the summer.

 

Grocery Shopping

Buying in season fruits and vegetables saves money as well.  Summer vegetables include tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, corn and green beans. Summer fruits include water melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches. For a more complete list of summer fruits and vegetables go to www.sustainalebabysteps.com. You can find recipes there too!

Remember, fresh is best, then frozen, then canned. You also pay more for packaged foods.  For example, you can save money on buying a small ham versus deli cut ham in the package. 

Sign up for your grocery store’s valued customer program and make sure to make a list before going shopping. This helps with picking up extra items that you may want or find enticing. Remember to not go to the grocery store hungry.  It is amazing how we are tempted to buy extra items or foods loaded with carbohydrates when we are hungry at the grocery store. Remember to be aware that stores place enticing items to catch your attention. Be mindful of the fact that your money is more important than your health for grocery stores and it is up to you to overlook these items and stick to your list. Be aware that diabetic and dietetic foods are usually expensive and many may take out sugar, but have more carbohydrates. And, definitely purchase store brand items because you can save as much as 50%.

 

Taking Care of Your Feet

Although the urge to go barefoot is greater in the summer, never go barefoot. Feet can burn in the sand and stepping on something can cause a wound that may take longer to heal.  Further, you may not feel or realize you have stepped on something that can cut or harm your feet. It is better to wear socks and shoes, but if you wish to wear sandals, try to make sure they are supportive, comfortable and do not rub your feet.  Applying sunscreen, as well as checking and washing your feet daily is important. Remember to apply lotion, but not between your toes as this may cause too much moisture and lead to fungal growth.

 

By Julie Hani RN, CDE
Fit4D Certified Diabetes Educator