Adjusting to college life can be tricky, particularly when you have diabetes. You’ll need to learn how to plan your diet and manage your medications while dealing with a busy study schedule. These lifestyle tips can help you get started.
1. Stick to a regular eating schedule
Sticking to a fixed schedule can be difficult for college students, but it’s important for diabetics to eat at regular times. Get into the habit of carrying healthy snacks around with you, so that even if you can’t eat a full meal at your regular time, you can still have a snack to keep your energy levels up.
2. Look for healthy options in the dining hall
In the dining hall, try to fill your plate with as many vegetables as possible, and eat only small portions of sweet, carb-heavy, and high-fat options. If you’re not sure which dining hall options are suitable for your meal plan, contact the director of dining services at your college to request nutritional information for the meals.
3. Be careful with alcohol
If you choose to drink alcohol, you need to be extra careful. Avoid drinking when your blood glucose is low or when you haven’t eaten for several hours, because alcohol can cause your glucose level to drop dangerously low. Sip your drink slowly so you don’t accidentally consume too much. The American Diabetes Association recommends that women have no more than one drink per day, while men should have no more than two.
4. Prepare for emergencies
Living in a college dorm often means sharing living space with other people. At the beginning of the semester, take the time to teach your roommates what to do if you have a diabetic emergency. Show them how to check your blood sugar levels and administer a shot if necessary. It’s also a good idea to wear a medical ID bracelet that identifies you as diabetic so campus staff or emergency medical technicians can give you the right treatment if your blood sugar drops too low.
You can still enjoy your time at college if you have diabetes. Spend some time at the beginning of the semester establishing good eating habits and educating the people around you on your diabetes. Once you've set up healthy routines to manage your condition, you can enjoy having fun with your friends without worrying that you're putting your health at risk.
About the author:
Hannah Whiteoak is a professional freelance writer from the United Kingdom. She’s been writing full-time for roughly 5 years and specializes in science and health topics.