Six Steps to Manage Your Diabetes through the Holidays
We often associate the holidays with food, which is a wonderful part of getting together with friends and family. But holiday food can also cause some havoc with diabetes management and weight control.
Don’t fret, though. You can still enjoy the holidays and the food by following six simple steps:
1. Keep your schedule and plan ahead.
Manage your diabetes just as you would every other day. Take your medications and eat at the same times, if possible. If holiday events disrupt your regular exercise routine, try to substitute workouts in some other way, like going for a walk. Plan ahead. Take snacks and prepare healthy dishes.
2. Keep control.
Make healthy choices when eating and try to limit portions. Vegetables are a great way to fill you up without sky-rocketing blood sugar levels. Try to avoid alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. But be careful, because alcohol can interact with medications and lower blood sugar levels. Make sure to check your blood sugar regularly, just as you would any other day.
3. Going to a party? Take a healthy dish.
Not only will you be a good guest by taking your favorite healthy dish, but your recipe may also be the rave of the party! Scout out other available food items and choose healthy options first. Save your “calorie budget” for a small portion of your favorite holiday goodies.
4. Get enough sleep.
Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep and, if needed, take a nap or two between activities. Staying up later than usual can make it hard to control blood sugar levels. Loss of sleep can also lead to increased appetite.
5. Control your intake of sweets and treats.
You can still eat a piece of your grandmother’s homemade pie. Just budget those calories and the sugar intake into your healthy eating plan. Adjust your eating patterns if you will be having any special holiday treats, and make sure to keep a close watch on your blood sugars. Remember to keep your portions small.
6. Order carefully in restaurants.
Many restaurants have healthy dishes. If you do not see anything on the menu, ask about dishes that are not fried and have less saturated fat and sugar. If meals come with French fries, ask to substitute with a salad, vegetables or something healthier. Portion sizes tend to be large when eating out. Ask for a to-go box when you order, and put half of your meal into the box before you begin eating.
Remember: The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and spreading cheer. Enjoy your holidays, but try to keep to your routine as much as possible. Make the effort to stay active through the holidays and include healthy dishes in your meals. Because the best gift you can give yourself and your family this holiday season is your good health.
For more information, tips and recipes for seasonal eating please visit: Holiday Toolkit