Managing diabetes on the road during the summer months

NKFM offers managing tips for people with diabetes

By Kalynne Defever

National Kidney Foundation of Michigan Communications Coordinator

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Summer has arrived in Michigan, which means families are packing up the car on the weekends and heading north.

Being on vacation is fun and exciting, but you cannot forget your healthy eating habits or stop being active, especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Plan ahead 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. Here are some tips for you from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan on how to eat healthy and stay active while on summer vacations.

If you are going to spend time on the water, you can go swimming, kayaking or canoeing. You also can play beach volleyball, go for a bike ride or take a long walk. If you are staying in a hotel, check out the gym or swim in the hotel pool. There are many options to be active for at least 30 minutes each day on your vacation.

Making healthy food choices, even while on vacation, is a key step to staying healthy, feeling better and, most importantly, managing and preventing diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. By controlling it, most cases of kidney failure can be prevented or delayed. To help make healthy eating choices, pack a small cooler of healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables and fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Bringing snacks such as nuts or dried fruit also will help you avoid choosing to stop at a drive-thru. Also, pack a few bottles of water instead of pop or juice.

Packing properly also is an important factor when managing diabetes and going on vacation. Make sure you take twice the amount of diabetes medicine and supplies that you would normally need. It is better to be safe than sorry. Packing snacks, glucose gel or tablets with you is important just in case your blood sugar gets too low. Also, don’t leave your medicine in the trunk, glove box or near a window because they may overheat. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit and make sure you keep your health insurance card and emergency phone number handy.

Summer vacations are a time to enjoy family, friends and life. It’s also a great time to refocus on feeling better, eating healthy foods and controlling your diabetes. For more information on managing and preventing diabetes or on kidney disease and kidney failure, contact the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan at (800) 482-1455 or visit