Diabetic Health and the Holidays

Happy Holidays!

We survived Halloween, which lead into Thanksgiving, and now, we are facing a month-long stretch of holiday parties and food-heavy activities leading up to Christmas and topped off with New Year’s!  Add to that it is cold outside, which not only limits our ability to get any outdoor activity, but also dampens the desire to go to the gym.  All of this combines to curtail your diabetic health in a big way! So let’s talk a bit about diabetic health and the holidays.

This is the time of year where it seems like candy and treats are EVERYWHERE!  This makes it very difficult for those living with diabetes, especially children, who can’t indulge in sugary treats.  Managing diabetic health can be challenging enough by itself, even without the added temptations of endless amounts of candy, chocolate and sugar-filled deserts.  Let’s find some new ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t include all the sugar!

Keeping Diabetes on Track over the Holidays

  1. Consider celebrating connections, versus food. Try to keep the holidays focused on enjoying the company of family and friends – food will lose some of its power over you if you turn the focus to personal connections and conversations versus eating.
  2. Get some activity going! Invite everyone outside for a game of two-hand touch football.  Or, take a walk after exchanging gifts.  Connect with people over fun and activity instead of over a plate of food.
  3. Communicate your struggle: It is important to let your hosts know that you have particular dietary needs. You may find that they are very willing to try to accommodate you.  It may also help if you offer to bring a dish to the party that is diabetes-friendly, you will know that you have at least one thing to eat that won’t sabotage your blood sugar.
  4. Carefully plan out your indulgences. Before any meal, take a quick survey of the food presented; choose two carbohydrates that you really don’t want to skip, and stick to your typical carb count with those dishes.  Keeping this category under control will make up for any other indulgences that happen.
  5. Load up on the veggies! These are ‘free’, meaning there is virtually no limit. Choose fiber-rich vegetables that will help you feel fuller for longer.  If you feel more full, you have a better chance of just tasting those carb-rich foods versus over-indulging on them!
  6. A small snack before you head to the party can really help curb your appetite and allow to make better food choices.

Great snack options:

    • Vegetables (raw or cooked) with or without 2 Tb of hummus
    • ½ cup vegetable juice
    • Nuts
    • Dill pickles
    • Two eggs, prepared as you like
    • String cheese
    • 2 Tb sunflower seeds
    • 2 Tb peanuts
    • ½ cup of cottage cheese
    • 15 (black or green) olives
    • Celery with 1 Tb peanut butter

Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy the holiday season, and manage your diabetic health and the holidays.  Not all celebrations have to be about food, we just need to change our mindset a little bit, and the Holidays will be less about food, and more about fun and enjoyment with those you love!