The holiday season is filled with family time, festive gatherings, and of course food. But with decadent dishes at every turn, those with diabetes may find that keeping their blood sugar levels steady is a bit more challenging than usual.
The good news is, we have the perfect recipe for staying on track this holiday season. With some pre-planning and nutritional swaps, you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday parties stress-free!
- Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals may make it harder to manage your blood sugar levels. Plus, depriving yourself of food increases your hunger — often leading to overeating. Instead, have a healthy, diabetes-friendly breakfast before the big feast.
- Stay hydrated. With water, that is! Water is essential for overall health and can help you limit other sugar-filled alternatives. It’s also important to avoid or limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels. Be sure to speak with your health care team to see if alcohol is safe for you.
- Use the plate method when building your meal. What’s a holiday without sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and warmed rolls? Unfortunately, these classic starchy side dishes can raise blood glucose levels. Instead, fill half your plate with healthy greens and save ¼ of the plate for the richer fare by selecting a small serving of each.
- Make smart substitutions. Opt for raw, grilled, steamed, or roasted vegetables and pass on sides that you can have year around. Think I LOVE that, I LIKE that, or I can LIVE WITHOUT that — this will assist you in building your best plate. For dessert, choosing pumpkin pie over pecan pie will cut down on excess calories and sugar!
- Take control. If you’re hosting dinner, add some healthy choices to your menu and avoid adding extra fat (heavy cream) while cooking. If you’re a guest, offer to bring a healthy dish you can enjoy as a substitute for less healthy options (a roasted root veggie, perhaps).
- Keep moving. Want to know an important holiday hack? Stay active! Physical activity after eating can help control blood sugar levels. It also helps in digesting big meals, improves blood circulation and manages stress. So grab the family and head out for a short walk (15 minutes) before enjoying any TV or screen time. Just 15 minutes of moderate pace can lower your blood sugar 30 points!
Remember, holiday gatherings and traditions don’t have to interfere with your blood sugar control. And if you’re in need of some help practicing a healthy diet, our registered dietitians can assist you in creating a customized plan that will help you stay at optimal health.
Our dietitians are available by appointment Monday-Friday. To make an appointment, ask your primary physician for a referral and then give us a call!