Want to enjoy holiday foods and still stay healthy? Planning ahead is important, especially if you have diabetes. These seven tips can help guide you through your next holiday event:
- Focus on friends and family instead of food. Remember, the holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with your loved ones. Play games, volunteer, or spend time outdoors enjoying the crisp weather together.
- It’s a party, but don’t overdo it. Eat slowly to really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings.
- Eat before you eat. Don’t skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save” calories and carbs for the large holiday feast later on. If you skip meals, it will be harder to keep your blood glucose in control. Also, if you arrive somewhere hungry, you will be more likely to overeat.
- Bring what you like. Don’t spend time worrying about what will be served. Offer to bring your favorite diabetes-friendly dish. It could be a low-sugar or low-fat version of recipe. If you count carbs, check your recipe’s nutrition facts so you know how big a serving is and how many carbs it has.
- Drink in moderation. If you drink alcohol, remember to eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Whether it’s a glass of eggnog or red wine, holiday drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your daily intake.
- Stay active. One reason that we have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time each day to exercise and don’t break your routine. Make the holidays an active time!
- If you overindulge, get back on track. If you eat more than you planned for, don’t think you have failed. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your 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.