The holidays are surrounded by tradition. But not all traditions are necessarily beneficial; especially holiday weight gain. People gain an average of 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. For those living with Diabetes, this can be intimidating.
However, preparation can help you enjoy the holiday season alongside your loved ones. By creating a plan to stay on top of your diet and blood sugar levels, the holiday season will be a breeze.
Follow these dietitian-approved tips to live well this holiday season.
Form a Game Plan
Avoid overindulging by controlling as much of the situation as you can. Even if you’re not in charge of setting meal times, you can plan your own eating schedule.
“When we veer from our typical schedule, we often tend to miss meals or overeat, and that can cause trouble with both our medicines and blood sugars,” says Abby Wilson, Registered Dietician Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator at Portneuf Medical Center.
Choose healthy snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. You can also mentally prepare by making a list of what you are most looking forward to eating. If you know you absolutely must have Aunt Mable’s pumpkin pie, then plan on it and cut other things out of your meal like gravy and/or rolls.
You do not have to write off all your favorite holiday foods, just prioritize those dishes and cut out other ones.
Make Your Own
Mattea Landon, Registered Dietician Nutritionist at Portneuf Medical Center, knows that this time of year can throw a wrench in normal eating patterns.
“One thing that is tricky during the holidays is potlucks or holiday parties. What we recommend is that you bring something you know that you’re comfortable eating,” suggests Landon. “That can be a non-starchy vegetable dish or protein dish. What's great about doing that is it usually can complement what the host is already providing.”
Try limiting the sodium content in your homemade dish or make healthy swaps like sweet potatoes for white potatoes or mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. This way you will get a healthy dish and the gratitude of your host!
Saving all your calories for one big meal might sound like a good plan, but for those with diabetes, it can be dangerous.
“Don’t save up all day for the ‘one big meal’. Trying to avoid eating all day may lead to a really big binge that can lead to blood sugars being significantly high,” says Wilson.
One of the best ways to keep your blood sugar in target is to practice portion control. Half of your plate should consist of vegetables, but don’t just fill up on vegetable casseroles! Steer clear of sodium-laden ham and opt for leaner choice like white meat turkey. Another trick that will help keep you from overeating is to place your food on a smaller plate. Ask for a salad plate instead of a full-size dinner plate.
Make sure to drink water before and during meals. This will help your blood sugar and keep you fuller.
The holidays are no excuse for dropping your exercise routines! However, if you know your schedule will change, change your exercise too. Start a new challenge like walking after meals or doing daily push-ups. This is also a great time to include others in activities. Get active with your family or partner up with a friend and challenge one another.
Diabetes can feel like an extra burden during the holidays, but with a little prep, you can still join in all the fun. Make sure to create a plan for meals, medication, sleep and exercise to stay on track with your diabetes management. Check your blood sugar often and have all your medications and devices on-hand.
Call our Diabetes Education team today to see how they can help you gain control of your diabetes – (208) 239-2070.
You can also go to your primary care physician with any questions or concerns you have about managing your diabetes. To find a physician and schedule an appointment with Portneuf Primary Care, call (208) 239-3815.