If you have diabetes, the winter months can be extra challenging. It’s
this time of year that seems to be the season for family gatherings, holiday
parties and comfort foods, which provide ample opportunities to stray
from a healthy diet and exercise regimen. But have no fear; there are
ways you can celebrate the holidays without diabetes spoiling your cheer.
American Diabetes Association (ADA) provides a number of tips on how to manage diabetes during the holidays:
Think About Timing
Many families eat large meals at odd times on holidays. For example, Thanksgiving
dinner may be served in the middle of the afternoon. Plan in advance for
how you will handle making changes if your meal does not line up with
your regular meal schedule.
- If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you
may need to have a snack at your normal meal time to prevent a low blood
glucose reaction. Check with your health care team about this.
The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be
active. Start a new tradition that involves moving around away from the
food. Needs some ideas? Try: walking with your whole family, playing a
game of football or soccer outside with your children or grandchildren.
Make a Healthier Version of Your Favorite Holiday Food
Can you replace an ingredient with its fat free or light version? Can
you steam a vegetable instead of sautéing it in butter? The ADA
has a variety of
diabetes-friendly recipes available online.
Many traditional holiday foods are high in carbohydrates: mashed potatoes,
sweet potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pie and other
desserts. Don't feel like you have to sample everything on the table.
- Tip: Opt for a reasonable portion of your favorites foods and pass on the
rest. For example, if stuffing is your favorite, pass on rolls. Choose
to have either sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, not both.
Eat Smaller Portions
High carbohydrate foods are plentiful at most holiday feasts, so watch
your portion sizes. Try to keep your total carb carbohydrate intake like
a regular day.
Eat Your Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbs and calories. They will help fill you up and keep you
from overeating other high-calorie and high-fat foods on the table.
Overindulge? Get Back on Track
If you eat more carbs or food than planned, don’t think you have
failed – stop eating for the night and focus on making the most
of time with the people around you. Include extra exercise, monitor your
blood glucose levels and get back on track with your usual eating habits
the next day.
If you have questions or concerns about diabetes,
Catawba Valley Health System’s Center for Diabetes Control can help. Comprehensive education programs are offered during the day or evening
to help you learn ways to control and manage the effects of the disease.
In either a classroom or one-on-one setting, you can learn about vital
topics such as Nutritional Therapy, Exercise, Blood Glucose, Diabetes
Medications, Intensive Insulin Therapy Programs, Stress Management, Complications
Associated with Uncontrolled Diabetes, Sick Day Management and Diabetes
Self-Management. Call 828.326.3442 to schedule your first class today.