Written by Jenn Fleischer MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, CHWC and Lauree’ Slingerland MS, RDN, LDN, CDE of Nashville Nutrition Partners. Thank you to Jenn and Lauree’ for sharing your knowledge and expertise with our T1D community!
School is out, the sun is shining, the pool is cool, and you’re ready to have some fun! But before you get in full vacation mode, here are a few tips that we hope help make the most of your summer living with type 1 diabetes, aka, T1D.
We want to introduce you to our 3-P’s. They are Plan, Prepare, and Pharmacy. Let’s dive into each of these. Are you ready? Let’s go!
“An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.” – Dale Carnegie. This quote couldn’t be truer! Planning ahead can make life easier and create room for more enjoyment!
Food and Nutrition Planning:
Summer fun can be distracting. It can be easy to get so caught up in our travel plans and activities that we might forget to eat regularly. Often times we may not realize it until we’re way past hunger or having a low blood sugar. Being mindful and intentional of eating regular meals can help keep energy and blood sugar levels balanced.
Here are some of our favorite travel-friendly foods:
- fresh fruit such as oranges, apples, berries, grapes, and bananas
- granola bars
- a good ol’ PB& J, or for those with a peanut allergy, a nut or seed butter and jelly sandwich
- dehydrated fruit and veggie chips
- nut butter and pretzels or crackers
- hummus and veggies
- guacamole and chips
- string cheese and crackers
- trail mix
- fresh veggie such as cherry tomatoes, snap peas, peppers
Summertime activities and temperatures can call for a change in insulin settings. For example, for some people, heat raises their blood sugar and for others, heat can cause a drop in blood sugar! It’s different for everyone so we recommend you work with your doctor and certified diabetes educator to make a personalized plan. This plan can include insulin management strategies for different activities, travel scenarios, time zones, temperatures, altitudes, etc.
Now that you’ve done a bit of planning you’re ready to get prepared!
Being prepared is not just a boy scout’s motto. Anyone living with T1D or traveling with someone who lives with T1D can never be too prepared! Here are some of our most effective preparation strategies for traveling this summer with T1D.
Food and Nutrition Prep
- Use small and portion size bags to pack your favorite sliced fruits, trail mix, veggies, or your snack of choice
- Counting carbohydrates ahead of time and writing them on your snack bags can be a lifesaver and make carb counting a breeze!
- Have 15-gram portions of fast-acting sugar for those unpleasant low blood sugars.
- Keep a list of pharmacies close to where you might be visiting and staying.
- Another important list is your medical supply companies! Just in case you need help with a piece of medical equipment while out of town.
- Keep some sort of medical ID on your person at all times! This can be an add-on to your watch band, a charm on a necklace or bracelet or even a shoe tag ID!
- If you’re flying, find out ahead of time what type of food they will have available. And remember, you can always pack your own food for the plane.
- Having a colorful go-to bag that you keep fully stocked with extra medical and low blood sugar supplies can be easy to grab-and-go all summer long.
- Extra supplies: it’s a good idea to keep twice as many supplies as you think you need. This can help ensure you’re always prepared with your pharmacy needs.
For those of us living with diabetes (hi, Jenn here!), medical supplies are literally our life support! While it is always a good idea to have extra supplies, here are a few more tips to make sure all your pharmacy needs are ready for summer!
Visit Your Doctor
It can be a good idea to see your doctor and certified diabetes educator to ensure you’ve got everything you need to support you for a safe and fun summer. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your summertime doctor’s visit:
- Having a go-to medical supply and medication pack list can be a lifesaver!
- Get all your prescriptions filled and ask to have additional refills available.
- Work with your doctor to come up with personalized insulin strategies that we mentioned earlier.
Keep Things Cool
Did you know that insulin is a protein? Heat and protein do not work well together. At about 93 degrees Fahrenheit insulin begins to breakdown and will not work as effectively or may stop working altogether! And while this degree of temperature may seem high, the inside of a car or direct sunlight can easily get that hot! Here are some tips for keeping your insulin and other supplies cool in the heat of summer:
- We’re big fans of an insulin cooling case like the Frio Insulin Cooling Case: https://www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com/ to keep your insulin cool in the unforgiving heat.
- Additionally, have an easily transportable lunchbox or cooler to keep your insulin, snacks, and beverages from the sun’s shiny rays.
- Never leave insulin, oral medications or other supplies and medical devices in direct sun or in a hot vehicle.
- If you notice your blood sugars not responding to your insulin dosages like they normally do and nothing else has changed, it may be a good idea to try some fresh insulin and rule out insulin that may have gone bad in the heat.
Well, there you have it! We hope you enjoyed these summertime tips from our RDN, CDE’s at Nashville Nutrition Partners! We hope you have a healthy, happy, and fun summer!
About Nashville Nutrition Partners
Nashville Nutrition Partners’ registered dietitian nutritionists and diabetes educators help take the confusion out of nutrition and diabetes management by providing an intensely personalized approach to your health and well-being.
Insurance coverage may be available for nutrition and diabetes management services. To find out more about working with one of NNP’s RDN, CDE’s book a complimentary insight session today at https://www.nashvillenutritionpartners.com/book-session
Jenn Fleischer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Nutrition Therapist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Health & Wellness Coach, and nationally recognized public speaker. Jenn is known for her transformative behavior change work and non-diet approach to diabetes management.
Along with her education and professional experience, Jenn has lived with type 1 diabetes over 25 years. When she isn’t working you can find her running trails, swinging kettlebells, leading a 5-minute dance party or getting creative in the kitchen. Jenn lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and young son.
Lauree’ Slingerland is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Nutrition Therapist, and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Her work is driven by a commitment to serve people living with diabetes, and helping them discover lifelong, sustainable strategies that support their health and well-being.
Outside of work, Laureé enjoys reading a book week (you’ve never met a more voracious reader!), visiting her family in South Mississippi, experimenting with new workouts on YouTube, and coming up with any reason to get to the beach!