Summer is the season of big, outdoor barbecues and cookout parties with family and friends. People open up their grills and enjoy classic barbecue food all summer long—but few afternoons are as popular for this as holiday weekends like Labor Day. Any sort of cook-out at any time can be stressful if you have diabetes, however, since the food you eat plays such a crucial role in how the disease affects you. Fortunately, enjoying yourself and staying healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. You don’t have to give up on social parties or your diabetic diet.
Eating with diabetes takes effort. You always have to pay attention to what you consume and to your carbohydrate count. Here are just a few ways you can enjoy yourself at a holiday barbecue, avoid over-eating, and make meals more diabetes-friendly:
- Exercise Before the Party – Exercise is good for you in many ways, including lowering your blood sugar levels. For some people, it also curbs the appetite and makes you less prone to overeating.
- Eat Beforehand – Snack on something healthy a little while before heading to the cook-out, so you’re not overly hungry when you arrive.
- Bring a Low-Calorie Dish – Contributing diabetes-safe foods ensures that at least one dish at the barbecue will be something you can eat.
- Substitute Carbs – If you avoid eating many carbs early in the meal, you could potentially enjoy a sweet treat for dessert. You’re simply substituting when you consume the carbohydrates.
- Stick to Low-Fat and Low Sodium – Look for, or bring, high-protein, high-fiber, and low-fat foods that you can eat. Low-fat cheese, vegetables, and small portion sizes help control your blood sugar levels.