When you go on holiday it’s usually an excuse for a well-deserved break, and you don’t really worry about what you’re eating because you're on vacation. When I travel, I head away for months at a time, which means I need to be careful about maintaining a healthy lifestyle along with healthy blood sugars. But with cheap street food and fast food readily available on a budget, how do you eat healthy with long-term travel? Here are my top tips.
1) Cook your own meals
The types of accommodation available to us today is widespread, and it’s no longer ridiculously expensive to rent out your own apartment thanks to websites like Airbnb and HomeAway. The great thing about having your own apartment is the access to a kitchen where you can prepare food for each meal and count the carbs. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat out at all, but mix it up! Also, many hostels and hotels either come with a kitchen or a small kitchen unit within the room.
2) Make sensible choices when eating out
When I took my first long-term travel adventure, I ate foods that made my diabetes complicated. I struggled with high-carb foods such as pasta and rice, but because it was cheap, I was eating them. I noticed I couldn't get a balance with my blood sugars, so I made strategic choices, instead of pasta or rice, I would have a big salad with my meal or stick to protein-based street food. I found this easier to manage my blood sugars. This doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge in sweet treats or fried food, it just meant I had them in moderation, as I would do back home. Try and stick to your normal eating routine.
3) Review the local cuisine before you go
If you count carbohydrates, then you may find it useful to look up the different types of foods consumed in a particular destination, along with example carbohydrate counts. There are lots of apps that can calculate these, and you can even get a visual representation of carbs and food portions sizes with the Carbs & Cals app; I find this super useful in new restaurants where I am trying to “guess” the carbohydrates.
4) Beat the buffet
If you find yourself in an all-you-can-eat situation on vacation here are some tips on controlling your portion sizes and staying healthy.
- Try soup to start as these are usually low calorie, lower carb and can fill you up!
- Use a smaller plate to control how much you are eating. It can be tempting to put a “bit of everything” on your plate, but scan the room, decide what you like and choose specifics. Fill your plate with vegetables too.
- Take a walk after dinner to help get your body and insulin moving. When we eat a lot of food at one sitting, our insulin sometimes needs a boost of movement to circulate and do its job!
Do you have any more tips for eating healthily on your holiday with diabetes? Let me know!