Disney with Diabetes – It’s All About Choices

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By Lindabee

My name is Lindabee, and I’m a diabetic.  Diabetes hasn’t been easy for me.  I wasn’t born with a sweet tooth . . . I was born with an entire mouthful.  But I’ve learned that living with diabetes is all about choices.

When I was diagnosed three years ago, I began keeping a food journal. Here I recorded what I ate for each meal and my blood sugar levels before and after each meal. This was a necessary step for me for two reasons – it kept me honest as far as what size portions and what foods I was eating, and it enabled me to learn what foods raised my blood sugar levels. This might be a good thing to try a month or so before you visit Disney. You will have some idea as to what foods you should definitely avoid. Bananas are one of my worst food choices – I love them, but don’t eat them.

As we planned our first trip to Disney, I worried about how Disney dining would affect my blood sugar levels. We had elected to pay for the Deluxe Dining Plan, and it was a great choice for me. It meant that I never had to choose which meal I should skip or have to pay for out-of-pocket. We decided to do a good breakfast each morning. Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day, and Disney’s breakfast buffets offer something for everyone. On most days, my breakfast meal consisted of eggs, a breakfast meat, and a fresh fruit. I’m not a big bread eater, so eliminating bread has many times enabled me to keep my carb levels, and my blood sugar levels, down. I did splurge at 1900 Park Fare when one of my choices was to eat the lobster eggs Benedict. Oh, when I close my eyes and think of those eggs, I swear I can still taste them. And the strawberry soup was also a good choice. Menus for the various restaurants can be found on the Mouse for Less website. I think it’s a good idea to look them over and get an idea of what you might find appetizing. Lunch choices aren’t difficult for me. Since I’m not crazy about bread, not eating a sandwich isn’t a sacrifice for me. Instead I choose good healthy salad when it’s offered – and most times it’s offered. However, if sandwiches are your thing, you can always choose to eat it open faced. It’s your choice.

Most all of Disney’s dining establishments offer a sugar-free dessert on the menu. But many times, I chose not to eat the starch portion of my meals and eat a small portion of the dessert that calls my name. Sharing with a non-diabetic is always a good option, and sometimes just a taste is enough to satisfy me. I usually try to eat the protein and vegetable portions of my meals first, and save the starches for last. That way if I’m too full to finish, I’ve eaten the good things and sent back the not-so-good. But if you’re concerned, let the restaurant know ahead of time that you have a special food need. They will do all they can to accommodate you.

One of the most important things to remember is to stay well hydrated. You will feel better, and you’ll be less apt to overeat if your belly feels full. And, don’t forget to test. Keep your monitor with you at all times and test several times during the day. I find that heat and sun will cause my sugar levels to rise more than normal. But the best advice I can give you is to remember that no one is cramming the food down your throat. There are no “food police” at Disney. What you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, and where you eat are all your choices. Making smart ones will make your trip more enjoyable.

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