The holidays are a time to catch up with friends and family at various gatherings and parties throughout the season. Good conversation, sharing of memories and hearty laughs are sure to be enjoyed by all, not to mention a veritable smorgasbord of delicious foods, treats, and beverages!
If you’re living with diabetes, part of you might actually dread this time of year. With so many yummy holiday goodies to enjoy, how can you possibly properly manage a healthy diabetes diet for the next month or so?
Living with Diabetes over the Holidays
Believe it or not, it IS possible to enjoy the holiday season, stay healthy, and practice proper diabetes management. Here are a few tips to ensure you take care of yourself while still having a good time at those holiday get-togethers:
- Eat before you leave for the party. If you’re worried about overindulging, try to fill up on some healthier foods before you even leave the house. This way, you’ll be more apt to stick with your diabetes diet plan and less likely to devour a plate of baked goods filled with sugar.
- Bring your favorite healthy dish to share. A host or hostess almost always appreciates guests bringing something to share. In this case, you can offer to bring a veggie tray or healthy side dish you know you will enjoy, and will help you stay on track, too.
- Watch your alcohol intake. It’s important to remember to drink in moderation at those holiday events; many alcoholic drinks contain excess sugar, especially when they contain mixers like soda or juice. Women should stick to one drink, while men can have two.
- Check your blood sugar levels often. Throughout the holiday season, check your blood sugar levels more often than normal, especially if you are taking insulin or medications that lower your blood sugar. You want to make sure you aren’t indulging in too much holiday cheer, and this data helps you know when you need to get back on track.
- Stay on schedule. With all those extra holiday events planned, it’s a busy time of year indeed. Try to maintain your normal eating schedule as much as possible; if you’ve overeaten at a holiday party, eat a smaller meal next instead of skipping it altogether. Skipping meals can cause a cycle of overeating. Plan your day accordingly when you know you’ll be doing things outside of your normal routine.
- Find time to be physically active. Along with staying on a regular eating schedule, don’t let your exercise routine fall to the wayside this holiday season, either! While it might be difficult to set aside a solid 30 minutes at the gym, think of other ways to work in physical activity, like going for a walk in town to see the holiday lights. Or, break up exercise into 10 minute sessions a few times a day.
- Splurge a little. With a little advance planning, you can still enjoy some of those holiday treats that you only get at this time of year. Budget the treats and extra carbohydrates into your meal plan to keep your blood sugar from spiking.
- Focus on what truly matters this season. While yes, there are certainly some delicious foods to enjoy this time of year, remember what the holidays are truly about- spending time with your friends and family. Focus on spending time with your loved ones instead of the food.
Staying healthy around the holidays is important not only for those living with diabetes, but for everyone! Remember: everything in moderation!
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