12 ways to manage diabetes during the holidays

Temptation is everywhere this time of year. Leigh Ann Brooks, Nursing Services Operational Lead, Diabetes Education, Parkview Regional Medical Center, offers some sound advice for those who need to be extra mindful of gumdrops and sugar plums this season.

It’s the time of year when we get together with friends and family to eat, drink and be merry! The holiday season can be a difficult time for anyone to stay on track with eating healthy, avoiding stress and continuing to exercise, however, when you have diabetes the holiday season can be especially difficult. When food and drink is a part of every activity, diabetics need to know what to do to keep blood sugars in control. After working hard all year to control blood sugars, we don’t want to unravel the progress in a few short weeks. The following tips will keep you healthy and happy this holiday season.

12 Ways to Manage Diabetes During the Holidays

  • Focus on socializing with family and friends and what you are celebrating instead of the food.
  • Eat routine meals and do not skip meals.  Skipping meals may cause you to over indulge later and send your blood sugars on a roller coaster ride.
  • Snack or eat a light meal before you attend a gathering so you aren’t arriving to the party hungry.
  • Try not to gather around the snacks and food table. Sit across the room and visit with friends and family so you aren’t mindlessly munching. Never graze from buffet.  Make a plate with the appropriate portions of food and sit down to enjoy it.
  • Bring something that is lower in carbohydrates, fat and calories. Good choices might be a vegetable tray, vegetable side dish or a lower calorie dessert.
  • Take leftovers home. Don’t feel like you have to eat several servings of foods in one day. Make sure your host knows you enjoyed your dinner, but you would rather take leftovers home for another meal than to over indulge.
  • Enjoy small portions of carbohydrates. Try not to load up your plate with large portions of carbohydrates such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and rolls.
  • Try to avoid fried foods, high fat sauces, toppings and gravies that are very high in calories. Prepare leaner cuts of meat by baking, broiling or grilling.
  • Use technology, apps or keep a diary of what you are eating.  This is the best way to make sure you are on track with your food consumption.
  • If you happen to overindulge don’t give up. Get back on track the next meal or next day.  It is OK to enjoy the holidays, but over indulging routinely will cause big fluctuations in your blood sugar control.
  • Continue to exercise and monitor your blood sugar. Routine exercise or walking will help blood sugars stay in control and help you burn off those excess calories.  After a meal, take a walk around the block, walk the dog or play a family friendly game of football.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol and high calorie beverages. These beverages bring very little nutritional value and contribute to extra pounds through the holiday season. Replace them with water, unsweetened tea, coffee or flavored waters.


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