Diabetic meals on airlines

I am flying to England in a couple of weeks and wondered if it is worth ordering the diabetic meal. I ordered the meal on a trip to Ireland in June and the airline, United, didn’t have it on board. They waited until everyone else had been served and then handed me a vegan meal of brown rice and tofu and never bothered to come back and check to see if I was OK. They gave me the same accompanying snacks as everyone else- high carb crackers and sugary dessert. I couldn’t eat anything but my family gave me their cheese so that’s all I had. I had pretty much run out of my own food as it was a night flight and I had been traveling all day. I did register a complaint with the airline and received no response at all. Has anyone had a diabetic meal and is it any good? Would I be better just bringing my own food? Is there a special meal that’s any better? I do very low carb so was hoping for protein, vegetables and maybe sugar free pudding or something, anything I could eat! What have your experiences been?

Dr. Bernstein says in this book that the “Diabetic” meals are all High Carb/Low Fat, with even more carbs than the regular meals.

When I was low carbing strictly, I used to bring those string cheese sticks and a low carb wrap full of high quality cold cuts, romaine, etc, in my bag when I traveled.

I fly quite often and rarely have food of any kind. A couple of airlines - Delta being one, I think - does offer a sandwich or a variety snackpack of sorts, which helps stave the hunger pangs. Most of the time I will buy food at the airport and bring it on board. Usually I will take a deli sandwich and a piece of fruit and then wait for the drink cart to come around. It’s usually much more satisfying if you bring your own food anyway.

BTW - I don’t believe in “diabetic” meals. I have no idea what that means anymore. I eat like a normal human being and I also like my sweets so I test my blood sugar and I take my insulin according to my blood sugar and my carb intake. May not always be the healthiest thing and I’m sure many people will disagree with me, but I wouldn’t want to be discriminated against because I’m a diabetic in any other aspect of my life, and I still don’t see why I need to do that with food. My body still knows what to do with insulin, it just needs help getting it.

I read somewhere to order a hindu non vegetarian meal and sure enough got a nice curry, just left the rice…

Depends on the airline. SAS has diabetic meals, but you get served last, don’t get as much food, but it is lower in carbs. By a bit, anyway. And you have to verify the meal when you check in or don’t expect to get it, even though you requested it when you booked. When we flew on British Airways a year or so ago, they didn’t offer a diabetic meal at all. When we fly on those long flights overseas I just get the regular meal and pick stuff out if necessary. And I always have plenty of candy/glucose tabs with me, just in case. You never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere for hours. Even with the pump I still go unexplainably low sometimes.

Being vegetarian and terribly picky, I would probably order th regular meal and pick out everything that wasn’t appropriate. Airline food is typically pretty bad, and I would bet a diabetic meal would be even worse. I would also pack plenty of snacks, and maybe a meal to take on board. That way you don’t have to worry about going hungry or low. Just out of curiosity, what other kind of precautions are you taking? I’ve heard that insulin is measured as U-40 overseas. Are you taking scripts, just in case you run out of insulin or syringes/pens?

Agreed. I have never had a “diabetic” meal. Learn about what carbs things are and how your body reacts to them. I like my cake and pie too much to give them up.

I don’t think I’ll run out of insulin, as I am not using it for every meal. I can manage right now with a very strict low-carb diet since I still have an intact secondary insulin response. I did check the web site and was pretty much appalled at what they are calling a lower carb diabetic meal. Bagels, crackers and fruit! I am thinking about ordering the gluten free meal, which featured rice cakes instead of bread, but will probably not bother and just take my own stuff.