Holidays and Diabetes: Staying on Track

November 12, 2019

All year, you work to stay on track to keep your blood sugar in good control. Holidays can throw you off your plan, with all of the parties, traveling, large meals, and of course the holiday treats everyone brings to work. You CAN control your blood sugar over the holidays with a few key strategies for staying on track.

Don’t skip meals or save up your carbs for a big meal later in the day. This can cause big fluctuations in your blood sugar (low and high), and can also lead you to be overly hungry, and overeat later. Continue to follow a consistent meal pattern.

There are often a lot of food choices at a holiday meal. Strategies to avoid overindulging:

Start with raw vegetables like celery, carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli; take only a small amount of creamy dip, if any. This can help to fill you up without excessive carbs, and give you more will-power to limit the higher-calorie items.

Outsmart the buffet… look over all of the options, use a small plate and put only your favorites on your plate in moderate portions. No need to have some of everything. Stick to one plate of food. If you do feel you should take some of everything, stick to a very small portion of each. Be selective about sweets: If you choose to have dessert, pick one favorite, and have a small portion.

Food pushers (and saboteurs): Prepare a strategy to help you to avoid giving in. It could be a simple but firm, “No thank you”. Or you may choose to explain that you have diabetes and it is important to you to stick to your healthy eating plan. Or you might get it “to go”; if someone continues to push you to eat something and you don’t want to offend them, ask if you could take some home for later. Then you can decide whether or not you actually eat it later. Saving something for later is a good strategy to avoid overeating and for controlling your blood sugar.

Stick to calorie-free drinks. If you choose to consume alcohol, limit to one drink and be sure to have it with food. For people who take certain diabetes medications, alcohol can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Talk to your healthcare team about whether alcohol is safe for you.

Go for a walk or play an active game with your family or friends after the meal. This is a great way have fun and be active. It can also help to lower your blood sugar.

Avoid hanging out near the food table before and after the meal. You are much less likely to graze this way. When you’re done eating, move into another room or far enough away from the food that you can’t munch while you’re socializing.

Continue to check your blood sugar regularly. Checking a few extra times on holiday or party days can help you to stay on track.

If you are the cook, avoid sampling more than necessary; too much sampling can add up and affect your blood sugar.

If you’re a guest and not sure if there will be healthy choices available, bring a healthy dish to share that you know you will enjoy and feel good about. This is also good for carry-ins at work.

If you do overindulge, don’t let it derail you; feeling defeated often leads people to give up and continue to overindulge. Recognize what happened and then get back on track right away.

By: Laura Jacob, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietician, Christie Clinic
Call 217.366.8144 to schedule an appointment.