One of the best parts of travelling anywhere is exploring a new culture through its cuisine. However, experiencing local delights can be tricky if you're travelling with diabetes. Eating out every day, consuming unfamiliar ingredients and overdoing it on carbohydrates can make juggling your diabetes care routine on holiday a challenging experience. But it's possible, with the right preparation. Here are some tips that can help.
Research Common Ingredients
Travelling with diabetes — whether within India or abroad — can be taxing if you're not adequately armed with information. Before your trip, research the traditional dishes available in the country or region you're going to, especially if you're unfamiliar with the cuisine. Consider consulting a registered dietitian, diabetes educator or your doctor for advice on what types of foods to choose in the country you're visiting. While you're there, be sure to speak with your doctor about any adjustments you should make to your diabetes care routine while you're away from home.
Prepare for Local Customs
Different countries have different customs, so where you go may dictate when you eat. For example, in South India, dinner time is fairly early, around 7:30 p.m. But in Spain, people tend to eat dinner late, around 9 or 10 p.m. That may spell trouble if you're travelling with diabetes. Make sure you're prepared to eat at regular intervals by pack smart and always having a few snacks or supplements available to help keep your blood sugar normal.
Practice Portions at Home
If you're travelling to a country with a carbohydrate-heavy diet, consider measuring your food for a few weeks before you go. This will allow you to eyeball your portions more accurately and better estimate how many carbohydrates you're eating. Try sizing your portions in comparison to common objects you'll have with you, such as your cell phone, to help you measure while travelling.
If you're faced with a food you're not familiar with, don't assume its ingredients. The dish may use sauces or spices that are high in sugar or fat without seeming so. Asking questions can help clarify some concerns, but asking is difficult if you don't speak the language. Consider learning a few food-related phrases before you go, such as "No sugar, please" or "No sauce" or "More vegetables." If you're able to alert the restaurant that you have diabetes, the staff may be able to guide you toward healthier options.
Follow the Plate Method
Wherever you're travelling, the plate method is a great way to make sure you stick to your meal plan. First, fill half your plate with vegetables; they can be cooked or raw, but they shouldn't be deep-fried or contain added sugar. Then, divide the other half of your plate into two sections. One section is for a serving of protein, usually about the size of a cell phone or a deck of playing cards. The other section is for your high-carbohydrate food, such as rice, pasta or bread. The plate method helps you control your carbohydrates and calories while still allowing you to taste a bit of everything.
It's necessary to have a good plan when travelling with diabetes. But, with a little research, a little preparation and maybe a few words in a new language, you can still experience the culture through the local cuisine.
Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.