Eating healthy foods during the holiday season can challenge even the most stalwart of us. With holiday parties every weekend, nibbling while baking and grabbing fast food as we dash around shopping for gifts, it’s a wonder all of us don’t gain 20 pounds this time of year!
For diabetics, eating right is isn’t just a pre-New Year’s resolution; it’s a must to keep blood sugar levels under control. In fact, according to JFK Hospital’s Diabetes Center, the holidays can make people living with diabetes especially anxious. So how can someone with diabetes stay on the straight and narrow while still having a great time during the holiday season?
With the heavy focus on food, it’s critical for diabetics to plan ahead and keep moving to remain healthy during December. Here are five easy holiday eating tips:
- Plan ahead. Many of us eat large meals at odd times on holidays. Plan in advance for how to handle making changes if meals do not line up with your normal schedule. If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you may need a snack at your regular meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction. Talk with your health-care team about this.
- Maintain carb levels. Holiday meals can be carb heavy. Make sure you don’t sabotage insulin levels by keeping your meals at the same carb levels. Some suggestions: Bring healthy snacks to share with other guests; make sure your menu contribution is a dish made of colorful, non-starchy vegetables or whip up healthier (read: less fat and sugar) versions of traditional recipes.
- Drink in moderation. Holiday drinks can up your calorie intake significantly. If you drink, eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Men should limit alcoholic drinks to two and women should have just one. Alternatively, bring a non-calorie drink you love.
- Add extra workouts to your week. Plan a family hike or walk, throw a Frisbee in the park, or play an impromptu game of touch football or work up a sweat having a snowball fight.
- Create non-food traditions. Start new holiday traditions that don’t involve food, including ornament swaps or family board game night.