Holidays and special events are meant to be enjoyed, but for people with diabetes the whole holiday season can feel a bit overwhelming. “When will I take my medications?” “What will be available to eat at the party?” “Can I drink alcohol?” “Are sweets going to hurt me?” These are all common questions we hear from our clients especially this time of year. These worries can cause some to avoid holiday get-togethers while others may overindulge out of frustration. If you or a loved one have diabetes, we have three tips to help make the holidays a little easier.
Before the Event
Set yourself up for success! Good blood sugar control depends on spreading out carbohydrate foods evenly throughout the day. Have your regular meals and snacks so you don’t go hungry to the party. You will feel more in control of your choices. This also helps minimize the risk of low blood sugars if you are taking insulin or certain pills for diabetes. Take your medications as prescribed and bring medications with you if you are scheduled to take them during the event. Set a reminder on your phone.
At the Event
Balance is the key – find the foods you love and work around them. Cookies, candies, cakes, starchy dishes and snacks (potatoes, rice, noodles, breads, chips, crackers) are all higher carbohydrate foods. Choose one or two of these higher-carbohydrate foods and use portion control. Balance your plate with proteins (meat and cheese) and veggies to fill up. Alcohol can be included (recommendation is 1 drink for women, 2 for men) and it’s best to have some carbohydrate when you drink. Sip on wine with cheese and a few crackers, or save your spirits for meal time. For those on insulin or certain diabetes pills this is a must to avoid low blood sugars!
Weight Management and Blood Glucose Control
It can be helpful to ask yourself, “what’s the big picture?” One night of indulging is not going to offset all the good, healthy choices you’ve been making. Trouble can arise if you are treating yourself regularly throughout the holiday season. Focus on one or two treats at an event and use exercise to help offset a rise in blood sugar and to prevent weight gain. Getting in extra steps or an added workout each week can really help.
If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, or if you have questions to gain better control of your diabetes, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Certified Diabetes Educators are here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with us today.