Eating Right on the Road
This summer I had the opportunity to spend a week at a Boy Scouts of America summer camp with my son. In the past, this week of camping included bugs, heat, bugs, cafeteria food and oh did I mention bugs.
Since I was last diagnosed with Diabetes, I hadn’t been to Summer camp, and I knew what the meals looked like for the week. Imagine you have to feed 500, typically young boys/men, between the ages of 12 and 16, three meals a day that will offset their extremely active schedules of merit badge classes, troop activities and free time play of the gaga ball.
It’s not an easy feat, yet the Summer camp seems to do a good job each year, but this description doesn’t fit for a middle-aged diabetic who is trying to avoid moving all week as to prevent the bugs and heat. I figured it out once, and a typical meal was between 1500 and 2500 calories PER MEAL, and over 100 carbohydrates PER MEAL. For a person with diabetes, this is killer.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
So, what can you do? Lucky for me, I knew what to expect. I know that during this week I was going to try and eat the food that I knew was right for me and avoid the foods that were bad for me the best that I could; if I had done just that I would have been starving all week.
It takes more than just trying to avoid the bad when you are traveling on the road to keep your diabetes under control. If all I did were avoid, I would have been hungry a lot of times and probably would have found myself eating the snack foods we leave out for the boys.
Since I knew what to expect, I was able to plan and make some plans. I knew that breakfast would be essential, so I brought with me some Kind granola, the diabetic friendly yogurt, and some blueberries. Even in the woods, I could bring a cooler full of ice and keep my yogurt and blueberries cold. This would help me with breakfast when we had biscuits and gravy with sausage and eggs. I could have my granola instead.
I wasn’t as concerned for lunch and dinner because I knew that the camp always offered a salad bar that I could still have a nice large salad with lunch, but to make sure I also brought with me some nut and granola bars as snacks and fillers for in between the meals.
Cheating and Exercise
Although it’s not a good habit, I did find that on some days it was just unavoidable not to eat some of the food items that I would not typically have in my diet. On these days I made sure to get out and walk around the camp a few times, take some pictures, see what activities the boys were working on … exercise should never be an excuse to eat poorly, but when you are on the road, and you don’t have any other options, the occasional cheating followed or proceeded by exercise can help.
After a week at camp, my blood glucose levels were at 86 and my weight only fluctuated by 1.5 pounds. Given what I had to eat and the substitutions I was making, I considered this change to be acceptable.
So, the next time you have to take a road trip, try to plan. Take some extra food that you know is diabetic friendly and can be substituted when you are in situations where the food provided would affect your blood glucose level.
Have you ever needed to travel and had to make preparations or substitutions? Share with us your stories or trips, in the comments below so that everyone can learn from your experiences.