5 Tips For Diabetics To Have A Healthier Holiday Season

5 Tips For Diabetics To Have A Healthier Holiday Season

From Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to Christmas and the New Year, the festivities never seem to end. Family members come from out of town, offices and friends throw holiday parties, and it all seems to revolve around food. Many people often indulge a little more than usual, imbibing too many glasses of wine and getting extra helpings of dessert. If you have diabetes, the copious amounts of food can make it difficult to manage the condition. You do, however, have the ability to navigate the holidays in a healthier way as a diabetic.

Finding balance during the holidays can be tough for diabetics. Managing blood sugar may not always be the easiest task, and the holidays demand more of your attention. If you want to maintain energy for all the holiday festivities, it’s integral to not let yourself go. While healthy eating plays a role in managing the condition, there are other steps you can take to help balance blood glucose levels. Continue reading to learn more about tips that can help you prepare for a healthier holiday season.

Be Selective

Traditional holiday dishes tend to be quite rich and carb-centric. Mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, pumpkin & pecan pies, stuffing, candied yams, and are just some of the dishes offered at traditional holiday gatherings. One of the best things you can do as a diabetic is be selective, focusing on dishes that are more “special” than others. If you can’t survive a holiday season without your mother’s green bean casserole, skip some other dishes and enjoy that one thoroughly. You can generally estimate which meals have more carbs than others, so keep that in mind as you put food on your plate. 

Know Your Carb Counts

If you want to manage diabetes, it can be beneficial to familiarize yourself with the carb counts of certain foods and dishes. Once you know how certain foods affect your blood sugar, you can make more educated decisions about food. For example, if brown rice, smoothie bowls, and sweet potatoes are regular staples, you know how much insulin you need to cover those foods. Every person’s body reacts to food differently, though, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all answer for carb counting. In general, eating starchy, cooked carbs tends to require more insulin than a bowl of raw fruit. 

Don’t Neglect Vegetables

Vegetables don’t typically take center stage on holiday spreads. If vegetables are present, they tend to be cooked with other heavy ingredients like sugar, butter, and dairy. Going to a holiday party or gathering? Offer to bring a green salad, baked Brussels sprouts, or roasted vegetables seasoned with various spices. You get bonus points for choosing non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach. Not only do they help fill you up, but they also give the body a break from the high-fat, high-calorie, and high-carb holiday dishes. 

Time Your Meals

During the holidays, it’s common to go from a family feast to a friend’s party. Isn’t it strange that they all seem to be at odd times? That’s the holidays for you! In regards to timing, it’s important to plan how you will adapt when meals don’t align with your typical eating times/meal schedule. If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood sugar, you may need to have a snack at your regular meal time to prevent low blood sugar. It’s also beneficial to eat breakfast and healthy snacks because “saving up” for a big meal can negatively affect blood glucose levels. In conjunction with this tip, don’t skip meals either, as that can lead to hypoglycemia.

Eat Smaller Portions

At some point in time, the holidays became a contest for who could eat the most food. Because many holiday dishes are carb-heavy, it’s beneficial to approach the holiday spread in a mindful way. Eating mindfully generally translates to being mindful of your portions. If you can’t decide between two high-carb dishes, employ the two-tablespoon rule. Only serve yourself a two-tablespoon portion of those foods. Essentially, you’ll be sampling some of your favorites! Keep in mind, though, that sampling every single dish can drastically increase the carbs and calories. Consider eating off a dessert plate to keep your portions in check. 



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