Student life can often be unpredictable and can disrupt your sleep, diet and eating patterns, but getting enough sleep and eating well will mean you have a better chance of staying healthy. Maintaining a balanced diet and regular eating will help your blood glucose levels, stress levels, keep your immune system healthy and prevent long-term complications of diabetes. Try to get accommodation with convenient access to food. If you are moving to catered halls speak to them about the nutritional values of the food available.
Simple suggestions for healthy eating:
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Try to include high fibre food such as wholemeal bread and pasta instead of white
- Make lower fat choices (skimmed milk, lean meat) and grill or steam instead of frying in oil
- Keep fast food to a minimum
- Drink alcohol in moderation only (see Alcohol)
- Try to do some physical activity on most days of the week (as part of anyone’s healthy balanced lifestyle)
Take the time to cook simple meals instead of eating out or buying ready meals. Consider a meal plan and buying a student cookbook. You can speak to your dietician to help with a management plan.
For tips on food shopping on a budget click here.
At university, regular meal times are almost impossible and late-night snacks are usually not planned. If meal times are disrupted:
- Try to eat regularly to maintain your energy levels. Try to eat three meals and spread them across the day
- Make sure you have emergency supplies of fast-acting carbs (jelly babies, energy drink, dextrose tablets) and some carb rich snacks (cereal bars, biscuits) to combat hypos
- Keep up your fluids. Even slight dehydration can contribute to tiredness, headaches and reduced alertness. Try to drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day
- One option is to set your alarm at the same time every day for insulin
If you are on twice mix-insulin, you may want to change to a more flexible insulin regime at university; ask your diabetes team for advice.