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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes When You’re On-the-Go

By the National Diabetes Education Program

Summer vacation is the time for a fun and relaxing break from everyday life. But being on vacation doesn’t mean you need to forget your healthy eating habits or stop being active. If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, plan how to fit exercise and healthy eating into your travel plans. With a little effort, you can stay healthy while you’re on the road.

When you’re not fixing your own food, it can be hard to eat healthy and not be tempted by fast food, family-style buffets, or large meals. For starters, take time to look over the menu and make a few healthy choices. Ask about portion sizes and check if the menu shows the calorie content of a meal. Don’t be afraid to ask to have your meal prepared with less salt and no added fat. Here are a few more tips to make healthy choices:

•Order first so others do not influence your choices.

•Order a small or half-portion meal or have a starter dish as a main meal.

•Order a salad to start and share a main dish.

•Choose steamed, grilled, or broiled foods instead of those that are fried or sautéed.

•Order salad dressing, gravy, sauces, or spreads “on the side” and eat a small amount.

•It’s okay to share a dessert once in awhile. Pick healthy desserts like fruit or frozen yogurt.

•Drink water or skim or low-fat milk instead of juices or soda.

•If you drink alcohol, choose wine or light beer.

When traveling, pack a small cooler of healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Also, pack a few bottles of water instead of soda or juice. Instead of choosing foods at rest stops or from a fast-food drive-through, fill a small plastic bag with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds to snack on. Since these foods can be high in calories, measure out small portions (¼ cup) in advance.

There are also a lot of things you can do to be active during vacation. You can choose to bike, hike, or canoe on your trip to stay active. If you’re off to the beach, you can go for a swim, take a long walk, or play a beach game. When driving for long periods, include time for a walk every few hours. If you’re staying in a hotel, check out the gym, walk a few extra blocks instead of taking a taxi, swim in the hotel pool, rent bikes for the day, hike a nature trail, or spend the evening dancing. Be active for at least 30 minutes each day.

Learn more about diabetes by visiting to see when the next diabetes education class is offered in your county at the local health department or simply call 1-800-928-4416 and ask to speak to the diabetes educator. You may also want to become a friend of LCDHD on Facebook at or follow us at .

Being active and making healthy food choices while on vacation can help you stay on track to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. To learn more about diabetes prevention and to order a free copy of Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Education Program at or call 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

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