Navigating the BBQ with Diabetes
Note: This is part of our library of resources on Food. Learn more about dietary recommendations from nutritionists and foodies alike on our Food page!
Especially with warm weather, you run the risk of dehydrating, which can send blood glucose levels high. To combat this, make sure to drink plenty of water and especially between alcoholic beverages. (Read our Drinking with Diabetes Chart.) Kitchen faucet, garden hose, sprinkler—you know where to find that elixir of life. Even staying cool in the shade can help with this, as opposed to baking in the hot sun.
Bring Homemade Food
Especially if you are going to someone else’s home, this allows you to control what your food options are. Most BBQs are potluck styled anyway! So, bring your favorite dish that you’ve already carb counted for and know how it affects your body. Also, pre-made food items from the store can have hidden sugars and fats and these are unwanted surprises.
Avoid sugar-free foods
Sugar alcohols are in sugar-free food, especially in desserts, and can upset your stomach and even give you diarrhea. Remember also, just because it says “sugar-free,” it doesn’t mean it’s “carb-free.” Duh.
Indulge but don’t over do it
BBQ usually call for grazing, but you don’t have to eat until the cows come home. Eliminate your stress and plan ahead for what you want to eat, so you can enjoy all the other activities that come with the social gathering.
To counteract highs, get moving. There’s bound to be a volleyball game afoot or some version of bad mitten and table tennis. If you’re outside, there should be plenty of options to counteract those BBQ fixings!
The BBQ Food
We’ve detailed the top 10 foods you’re most likely to come across at the American BBQ so you can prepare ahead of time.
The ADA describes the Glycemic Index (GI) as “a measurement of how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.” This glycemic index is vital in helping to determine how a food will affect one’s blood sugar. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are digested at a slower rate, therefore they cause a lower and slower rise in blood sugar levels.
*These are approximations. Also read food labels when available for the most accurate nutritional information.
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