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Tips for Enjoying Summer Gatherings if You Have Diabetes




dSummer is here! And, like all of us, you probably want to work on getting active, going to the beach, and buying those summer clothes you’ve had your eye on! Go for it! Just remember, with all those summer barbeques and family reunions coming up, you have to keep your eating habits in shape too! Making healthy food choices, even while on vacation, is a key step to staying healthy, feeling better and most importantly, managing your diabetes.

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has tips for eating healthy during gatherings this summer:

• At a summer buffet, start by looking at the table to see what’s available. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables and whole grains. If there are meat dishes, limit your portion to the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Choose lean meats, poultry, or fish instead of high fat meats, such as barbecued ribs. Choose grilled chicken — and remove the skin — instead of something fried.

• Look for high-fiber foods, such as dried beans and peas, lentils, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and kale. Dishes with green beans, three-beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas are always good choices. Other good choices are whole grain foods such as brown rice, couscous, and whole wheat bread and pasta.

• Limit dishes with a lot of mayonnaise, sour cream, and butter. Choose veggies that are light on dressing and cheese. For fun, try making your own dressing with a little olive oil and vinegar. If you make a sandwich, use whole wheat bread with mustard or salsa instead of mayonnaise.

• Try to drink water or unsweetened tea, instead of juice and regular soda with your meal. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink only with a meal and limit it to no more than one drink (for women) or two drinks (for men) a day.

• Have fruit for dessert! Summer is a great season to increase your daily fruit intake. Everyone — including people with diabetes — needs several servings of fruit a day. What’s summer without delicious watermelon or strawberries? Fruit is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and has zero fat.

Summer is a time to enjoy family, friends, and life. It’s also a great time to get active and eat healthy foods to manage your diabetes. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it!  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

For more tips and free materials on managing diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Education Program at

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