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Eating on the run with diabetes

healthy fruits and veggies

While some people living with diabetes require insulin injections, oral medications or both, everyone with diabetes needs to focus on healthy eating and activity levels that keep blood sugar in a normal range. Eating too much or too little at the wrong time can cause spikes or dips in blood sugar, which can cause immediate problems and long-term health complications.

“Keeping your diabetes on track can be difficult, particularly when you have a busy schedule,” says Stephanie Brown, Ascension Medical Group Diabetes Education coordinator.

“When you are short on time and still want to make healthy food choices, it is necessary to have a plan to protect yourself. A little time spent anticipating problems can do a great deal to save you time — and health problems — later.”

Helpful tips for eating on the run with diabetes:

  • Snacking: For a person with diabetes, snacks usually are recommended to help keep blood sugar levels stable. But it’s important that the snack items are carefully measured for calories and carbohydrate content. 
  • Fast-food alternatives: It’s best to avoid fast food, if you can. When you know that you’re going to be traveling, it’s a good idea to keep water close by with a variety of snack items: fruit, nuts, trail mix or 100-calorie packaged snacks. For longer trips, pack a sandwich on whole grain bread and a bag of bite-sized vegetable pieces.
  • Buffet tables: “All you can eat” takes on a new meaning when you have diabetes. Before starting, survey the offerings carefully to see what you can and should eat. And then use the “plate strategy”: Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables; one quarter with lean meat, fish or chicken; and one quarter with a starchy food such as rice, noodles, tortillas or potatoes. Add some fruit, and you have a well-rounded meal.
  • Carry-out meals: When you are too busy or too tired to cook, remember there are other ways of obtaining a fast, easy meal. Many supermarkets have salad bars and delis offering prepared foods that need only a quick re-heating. Read the labels to find nutritious items that have the proper mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat for your needs. Be sure to note added sugars and sodium.

For more information about living with diabetes, go to

Via Christi offers diabetes education classes that can provide information about how you can live well with diabetes, and how blood glucose testing, meal planning and daily activities can increase your sense of well-being and improve your health. 

Diabetes education, management and support groups are available in Wichita, Manhattan and Pittsburg. Call for more information:

  • Wichita: 316-689-9989 
  • Manhattan: 785-587-5481
  • Pittsburg: 620-235-7812


About Ascension Via Christi