This week I received the following question from

I have type 2 diabetes and travel quite a bit.  My eating & exercise are unpredictable at best when I travel and I’m having a difficult time managing my diabetes.  What do you suggest?

This can be difficult, but it is not at all uncommon. Having a busy schedule such like this  might mean a little extra planning when you have diabetes, but it is certainly manageable.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when facing an unpredictable schedule when traveling:

Maintain regular physical exams with your doctor. Busy or not, getting regular exams is a must and can help you prevent major complications down the road.

Always carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition and what medications you are taking in case of an emergency. Carry your prescriptions on you as well, in cases of lost luggage.

If traveling long distances by air, request  diabetic-friendly meals about 2 days ahead of time. Many airlines will accomodate this. 

Pack snacks of your own. Preparing your own healthy snacks will keep your blood sugar from dropping and prevent you from grabbing a bag of chips or sweets from the vending machine.

Work your exercise into your day, rather than fretting about not making it to the gym. Waiting for a flight? Take a stroll around the airport. Driving? Make stops as you can in safe rest areas to stretch your legs. In a hotel? Some hotels have work-out areas or swimming pools. At the very least, you can always take a walk.  Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes to avoid any feet injuries.

Don’t skip breakfast. Although you are busy, skipping the most important meal of the day can set you back. Make time to get a nutritious breakfast and your blood sugar is less likely to sky-rocket later in the afternoon. If you must, eat something portable on the road, such as a tablespoon of peanut butter on a piece of whole-wheat bread.

Be conscientious when dining out. Traveling usually means a lot of  restaurants and fast food chains. You can make healthy choices by picking grilled or baked options instead of fried, choosing low-calorie dressings, and monitoring your carbohydrates by keeping the healthy plate model in mind (see my first post).