Tips to Help You Stay Healthy During Summer Gatherings

Summer gatherings offer a chance to bond with family and friends, share recipes and celebrate. Use this time to take steps to stay healthy to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease. If you don’t take steps to manage it, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputation. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and many people have it and don’t know it. Another 79 million adults in the United States have prediabetes, a condition that could lead to type 2 diabetes.

Research shows that losing a small amount of weight 5 to 7 percent of your current weight, or 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person can reduce a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes. The key is to lose a small amount of weight by making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Small steps can lead to big rewards.

To get started with healthy eating at your next summer gathering, try adding more fruits and veggies to your picnic menu. Here are some other tips:

  • Reduce portion size. Eat smaller amounts of food to help with weight loss. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin. Fill one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
  • Use low-fat or skim milk, yogurt and cheese in recipes.
  • Choose fish and lean meat, chicken and turkey without the skin.
  • Serve foods that are baked, broiled or grilled instead of fried.
  • Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
  • Serve fresh fruit as a dessert.

Think about activities that can get people up and moving:

  • If your summer gathering is held in a park, carve out some time to organize a short bike ride or brisk walk on a nature trail. Any kind of activity that helps get your heart rate up is good.
  • Plan for some game time, such as a scavenger hunt, potato sack race, hula hoop or jump rope contest.
  • If there is a playground, basketball court or grassy field at your summer gathering, take advantage of the surroundings to plan for a friendly game of basketball, flag football, soccer, volleyball or tag.
  • As day goes into evening, turn up the music and dance it away! Dancing is a great way to get active.

For more diabetes prevention tips from the National Diabetes Education Program, visit to download or order copies of Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes or Small Steps. Big Rewards: Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.