Tips and Tools to Help You Manage Your Diabetes through the Holidays
Each year, November officially kicks off the holiday season. November is also American Diabetes Month. Coincidence? Probably not, since the holidays can create challenges for those living with diabetes. So how can you enjoy all the holiday festivities while still keeping your diabetes in check?
These six steps can help you manage your diabetes through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s:
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 another way, like going for a walk. Plan ahead. Eat healthy snacks, prepare healthy dishes and eat a healthy snack before going to an event that will have a lot of holiday food.
2. Keep control.
Make healthy choices when eating and watch your portions. Not sure about portion sizes? Check out The American Diabetes Association’s tips for food and portion size. Vegetables are a great way to fill up without increasing blood sugar levels. Try to avoid alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. But be careful: 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. Limit your intake of sweets and treats.
You can still eat a piece of your grandmother’s homemade pie or a helping of fried potato latkes. Just budget those calories and the sugar intake into your healthy eating plan. Adjust your eating patterns if you know you will be having 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 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, check out this simple holiday toolkit.
Did you know Mountain-Pacific offers free diabetes classes in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Montana and Wyoming? Visit our diabetes webpage and contact your local representative for more information. Or you can like us on Facebook and see if there are any classes scheduled near you. These classes are designed for people with Medicare, but anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes (high blood sugar) is welcome to attend.
Want more information? Read our other blogs on Diabetes Recipes and Meal Plans That Anyone Would Love and a question and answer blog with the 2016 Diabetes Educator of the Year. See our Healthy Living for Life television show on diabetes.