How can I eat healthfully at a picnic if I have diabetes?


This summer, the National Diabetes Education Program recommends enjoying picnics by selecting the healthiest food options. Choose lean meats, poultry, and fish, and limit your portion to the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Avoid meats that are higher in fat, such as hamburgers or barbeque ribs, as well as dishes made with fatty foods like mayonnaise, sour cream, or butter. Make sure your greens are lightly dressed, and add low-fat condiments like mustard to your sandwiches. Look for high-fiber summer vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. When hydrating, drink water or unsweetened iced tea. If you choose to have alcohol, drink only with a meal and limit your consumption to no more than one drink (for women) or two drinks (for men) a day. Finish your meal with healthy summer fruits like watermelon or strawberries.

Follow these tips to eat healthy at a picnic if you have diabetes:
  • Scout it out -- Survey the territory before scooping out any one dish. Check to see if there is a healthier alternative or smaller portion size farther down the table.
  • Just a dab will do ya -- With so many picnic temptations to chose from, take a small taste of some of your favorites. That should satisfy your craving and keep your meal plan on track.
  • BYOB -- Bring your own bottle -- of water that is -- and drink before, during, and after the picnic. Drinking water will keep you hydrated and make you feel fuller throughout the day.
  • Play ball -- Take a break from the picnic table with the other guests. Challenge others to a friendly game of Wiffle ball, Frisbee, horseshoes, or other outdoor games. If you are at a park, lace up your sneakers and go for a walk.
  • What can I bring? -- When in doubt, offer to bring a side dish or dessert. That way, you can control the ingredients and know exactly what you are eating.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.