HOW TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS and STAY IN RANGE
While the holidays are all about family and festivities, a whole lot of food shows up at holiday gatherings. The parties and travel can disrupt your normal routine — and the celebrations can last for weeks.
How can you stick to your meal plan and keep your blood sugar in range while still enjoying the holidays?
It’s not always easy. But with a little planning, it’s possible!
1. Start with a Plan
You know you’ll see plenty of tempting treats, and you can’t always control what might be served. The best thing you can do is to have a plan for making good choices.
- Eat as close to normal times as you can to keep blood sugar levels steady. If meals will be served later than you normally eat, have a snack at the usual time and go with smaller portions at dinner.
- Don’t try skipping meals to save up carbs and calories for the day. It’s hard to manage blood sugar when you skip meals. It’s also easier to overeat when you’re extra hungry.
- If you get invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish you know you can enjoy.
- Skip foods that you can eat anytime and choose to indulge in items that are special and seasonal.
- Don’t forget to plan time to check blood sugar levels and take your medicines. Missing a dose will make it harder to stay in range.
2. Know How to Deal with Buffets
You’re likely to face a few buffet meals. Here are a few suggestions to help make healthy choices easier.
- Start by eating some vegetables. They’re a healthy choice and will take the edge off your hunger.
- Survey all the foods at the buffet before you make your choices. Then decide based on the foods you want most.
- Fill up most of your plate with healthy foods, saving a little room for other favorites that aren’t as healthy.
- Go with small portions of your favorites. You can always come back to the buffet.
- Eat slowly. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that you’re full.
3. Drink Responsibly
During the holidays, you’ll not only have to make careful food choices, but you need to think about the drinks you choose.
- Skip beverages with sugar. Go with flavored sparkling water, plain water or another sugar-free option.
- If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, choose non-mixed drinks like scotch on the rocks. Mixed drinks often include liqueurs that are packed with sugar.
- Be sure you eat if you’re having an alcoholic drink.
- Remember alcohol can affect blood sugar levels for as long as 24 hours. Monitor it closely after you have a drink.
4. Make Some Recipe Modifications
Are you the one cooking for the holidays? Maybe you’ve been asked to bring a dish? If so, you can adapt some of your favorite holiday recipes to make them healthier and more diabetes-friendly. Some easy ideas include:
- Use half-mashed cauliflower in mashed potatoes or potato pancakes to lower the carbs.
- Bake using sugar substitutes.
- Try whole-grain rice or crusts instead of white rice and pastry crusts for pies or bars.
5. Take Small Steps to Success
Keeping your blood sugar in range during the holidays is all about taking small steps, such as:
- Budget carbs for sweet treats. If you’re going to have dessert (and we know you want to!) lower your carb intake during your meal.
- Take a walk after you eat. Even a 20-minute walk can go a long way towards helping you manage your blood sugar and stay in range.
- Make sure you get enough sleep to compensate for your disrupted schedule during the holidays. Poor sleep can make it tougher to manage blood sugar.
- There’s an app for that! Many mobile apps can help you manage your diet and diabetes. They’re especially useful when eating outside your normal routine during the holidays. Learn about mySugr app.
Sources (accessed Nov 2021)