Fall is the time for festivals, fairs and football games

What do these activities have in common? Food and lots of delicious, yummy treats, some of which are only available at this time of the year. Explore tips for managing diabetes and portion control as you enjoy these seasonal treats.

What do you do when you’re a diabetic and thoughts of carb counts are in the air? Or you’re trying to follow your meal plan when you don’t have control of the food preparation? Relax! Here are some tips to help keep your diabetes under control while still enjoying those fall activities:

Tailgate parties:

  • When you know that you will be eating later than normal, eat a small healthy snack before you leave. Some good choices depending on your personal diet include half a sandwich of peanut butter or lean meat like turkey, a piece of fruit, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip. Your choice should take the place of a normally scheduled snack or eaten as part of the next meal.
  • When you arrive at the tailgate party, look over the choices before you start eating and choose foods based on your meal plan. Favorite foods like grilled hotdogs or hamburgers will fit into a diabetic meal, but choose wisely when it comes to side dishes. Those carbs can add up! Stick to low carb veggies, salads or chips with salsa.
  • Watch your beverages! Unsweetened soft drinks, tea and water are the best choices.
  • If you’re not sure what the food choices will be, call your host and ask. Offer to bring a low-carb side dish or veggie tray or a diabetic-friendly dessert.
  • If you’re eating at a stadium, call ahead. Most will be able to let you know what foods are sold at their concession stands so you can plan wisely.
  • Be aware that most stadiums will not let you take food in. Your best bet would be to carry small packets of nuts or a piece of fruit with you to ensure you have something to eat.

Festivals and fairs:

  • When you’re planning on attending longer than an hour or two, be aware of how often you need to eat.
  • As you walk around, make a note of vendors offering healthier choices such as grilled meats, salads, vegetables (not deep fried) and fruits. Choose to eat your main meals around these foods and save foods higher in carbs and fat as a treat.
  • Most of us have a favorite food we can only get at festivals and fairs. Choose your favorite treat and plan accordingly. If it’s a sweet treat like a caramel apple, look up the nutrition facts before you go to find the carbohydrate count. Then choose to share with a friend or eat whatever portion size meets your meal plan count. Foods high in fat and calories can also be shared or buy the smallest size available.

Fairs, festivals and football games are a fun way to spend a fall day – just don’t let them be an excuse to go hog wild and eat whatever you want. Your health will thank you for it later!

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