Long weekends, warm nights, and outdoor get-togethers mean that BBQ season is back! There’s no shortage of things to do in the summer, but when you have type 1 diabetes (T1D) activities such as travelling or indulging in some of your favourite barbecued foods require a bit more planning. While this can seem like a daunting task, having a strategy in place will allow you to feel more confident in your ability to manage changes in your blood glucose levels.
Whether you’ve been invited to a BBQ or you’re intending to host one soon, we’ve got you covered. Here is our Guide to Navigating BBQ season:
BYOD or Bring Your Own Dish
When you’re not at home, it’s more difficult to control your food options, which is why carrying your own dish is always a great idea. Most hosts will be thrilled to see that you’ve brought something, and you can familiarize yourself with its nutritional content ahead of time. Food items supplied by other guests, whether they’re homemade or store-bought, can have hidden sugars and fats, which can lead to blood sugar surprises later.
Circulate, circulate, circulate!
Walk by the buffet a couple of times and decide how many carbs you will be consuming that day. If you find it difficult to keep track download an app on your smartphone that counts carbs, displays glycemic index (GI), or reveals fat content. There is no shortage of apps that show the nutritional information of processed foods, produce and homemade foods, too.
On hot days, you run the risk of dehydration, which can spike your blood sugar levels. At a BBQ, you’re more likely to eat salty foods and protein, which can increase the unwanted effects of heat. If you drink an alcoholic beverage it can further increase your risk of dehydration, so be sure you’re making informed decisions before you sip. Drinking water doesn’t have to be boring – dress up your water with lemon, cucumber, or try sparkling water!
Keep your meds cool
You’re not the only one that feels the heat. Insulin should be kept out of the sun and at room temperature, or stored in a fridge. To prevent your insulin from going bad while outdoors bring along a cool pack. Insulin needs to be cool – not frozen –as freezing kills it.
Moving around in any form helps to counteract high blood sugar. You’re at a BBQ – dance to a perfectly curated playlist, walk around to mingle, or play lawn games! These are just a few great ways to get active and offset highs.
At times, it can feel like you’re constantly thinking about managing type 1 and forgetting to enjoy yourself. Keep these tips in mind to help you enjoy the great food and company at your next barbecue!
Visit our JDRF Blog for more informative articles on type 1 diabetes and health.