The workplace can be a stressful environment, and when you’ve got diabetes, it can be even more difficult to negotiate. But if you prepare and plan ahead, your workday can be smooth and uneventful, at least in terms of your blood sugar! Here, seven steps you can take to stay healthy at work:

    1. Monitor your blood sugar at work. One study found that many individuals didn't take adequate care of themselves in the workplace because they were afraid of their boss's reaction. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer is required to accommodate you so that you’ll have time to test your blood sugar in private, take a break to eat a snack, and do whatever else you may need to in order to stay healthy.
    2. Make time for breakfast. "When you work hard, it can be tempting to just have a cup of coffee, and then get busy and not eat lunch," says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "Instead, eat a good breakfast and you won't be tempted to eat too much later." It’s much healthier to have a larger meal earlier in the day and to then eat light later on, he adds.
    3. Get moving. Assuming you spend most of the day sitting at a desk, make it a point to get up and move around every hour or so, says Spyros Mezitis, MD, PhD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Not only do you burn off calories, but your body will be more sensitive to insulin, too," says Mezitis. Wearing a pedometer will help you keep track of how many steps you take and may even inspire you to take more steps!
    4. Bring your lunch rather than buy it. You will have more control over what you eat, says Mezitis. You can prepare a large salad with protein but no white starches, along with a piece of fruit. Bonus: Taking lunch from home also saves you money!
    5. Keep snacks that can treat an episode of hypoglycemia [low blood sugar] at your desk. Betul Hatipoglu, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends hard candies. "It’s also good to have healthy snacks on hand that won’t spoil, such as protein bars, for when you get hungry," she says. They’ll also come in handy when there’s a special celebration in the office, like a birthday cake for a colleague. You’ll have something healthy to snack on while your co-workers are having cake.
    6. If you take insulin, consider having two sets of supplies—one at home and one in the office. This way, you won't be rushing around having to pack everything at the last second in the morning, Mezitis says. Or worse, forget to bring anything.
    7. Alert a trusted colleague. Let someone in your office know that you have diabetes and explain to her how to manage an episode of hypoglycemia, so that if you develop symptoms of dangerously low blood sugar, she will know how to respond appropriately.

Betul Hatipoglu, MD, reviewed this article.