The holiday season is full of delicious temptations and treats that can derail even the healthiest eaters. Holiday food and cheer cause millions of Americans to gain weight every holiday season.
But for over 34 million Americans living with diabetes, the stakes are higher than carrying a few extra pounds. Careful management of your diet is a must for diabetes to prevent more severe and potentially life-threatening health problems from developing.
So how can you deal with the temptations of sugar-laden holiday treats like candy, pie, cookies, and eggnog and still keep your blood sugar in check this holiday season? Dr. Rosalyn McFarland of MyNP Professionals in Brown Deer, WI, offers the following five tips.
1. Plan ahead to keep blood sugar in check
One of the biggest mistakes diabetics make over the holidays is not making a plan. Planning your meals and snacks and eating on a schedule helps you avoid significant changes in blood sugar. It also helps reduce unplanned, unhealthy eating around the holidays.
Know that it’s essential to be even more aware of your food intake this time of year. Be sure to bring your food journal and blood testing supplied with you when you head out for the holidays. And remind yourself when it’s time to eat by setting reminders or alarms on your phone.
2. Don’t skip meals or snacks
Skipping meals and snacks is never a good idea when you have diabetes since it causes your blood sugar to dip too low. It also makes you hungrier and more likely to indulge in food that can create a massive spike.
Be sure to take rescue foods (foods with around 15 grams of carbs) with you in case you end up missing a meal. It’s also a good idea to bring protein-rich snacks with you to help keep your blood sugar level between meals. on hand to eat.
3. Allow yourself to indulge — wisely
It’s okay to indulge in a few holiday treats this season. But it’s important to be smart about the foods you choose to eat. Try taking small portions of a few of your favorites and enjoy the two or three bites of each. If you plan to indulge and take insulin, be sure to bring extra just in case your blood sugar spikes after your treats.
4. Enjoy your food and eat slowly
Your brain and stomach work together to let you know when to eat and when you’re full. But these signals don’t happen instantly; In fact, it takes bout 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.
Eating slowly and mindfully not only helps you enjoy the flavors of your favorite treats, but it also helps you refrain from eating more than you should. Chew slowly and take sips of water between bites if you have a difficult time slowing down.
5. Avoid alcohol and sugar-laden beverages
During the holidays, people love to spread cheer with spirits and sugary drinks. But these beverages can elevate your blood sugar quickly, which is not only dangerous but also prevents you from being able to enjoy a wider variety of holiday treats.
Work to keep alcoholic drinks and beverages high in sugar, like eggnog, hot chocolate, sodas, and holiday punch to a minimum. Choose sugar-free, flavored sparkling water for a bubbly treat instead.
Do you need help managing your diabetes or with planning for the holiday season? If so, contact our team today to schedule a personal consultation.