The holidays mean family gatherings, gifts, and lots of food, especially scrumptious sweets that may only make an appearance once a year. How do you deal with the temptations of Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, gingerbread, and eggnog and still keep your blood sugar under control throughout the holiday season?
At Medinet Family Care Clinic, our experienced family medicine professionals are ready and able to help you answer that question. Dr. Bharat Gandhi and Dr. Priya Gandhi put together a list of diabetes management tips to help you stay healthy during the last few months of this year.
5 ways to manage diabetes during the holidays
These tips can help you all year ‘round, but they are particularly useful when you’re out of your usual routine or away from home and faced with major temptations.
1. Make a plan
Don’t go into the holidays cold. Planning ahead can help you stay on your diet and eating schedule and avoid massive highs and lows in your blood sugar. Set alarms on your phone to remind you to check your blood sugar. Pack your food journal and blood testing supplies and expect that you’ll need to be more self-aware over the coming weeks.
2. Be kind to yourself
The holidays are stressful, which can also make blood sugar levels go up. Do your best to keep things as stress-free as possible and don’t forget to schedule downtime. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, and decide in advance what you’ll say if anyone tries to get you to deviate from your plan by pushing extra food or sweets on you.
3. Small indulgences are permitted.
No one expects you to deny yourself everything from the holiday dessert table, but you can be smart about your choice. Ask for a small plate with two or three bites of your favorites and eat them slowly to savor them. If you take insulin to manage your diabetes, bring extra in case you need to administer a little more than usual.
4. Don’t skip meals or snacks
Sometimes it’s not the overabundance of food, it’s the waiting for mealtime that can make holidays dangerous for people with diabetes. Pack snacks you can take with you to ensure you always have something protein-rich on hand to eat. Also make sure you have some rescue foods in case your blood sugar dips too low. About 15 grams of carbs is usually the right amount to help bring your blood sugar back up without causing a spike.
5. Eat slowly and watch out for sweet drinks
It takes your brain 20 minutes to realize your stomach is full, so eat as slowly as possible. This will help you refrain from overindulgence. Also keep mixed alcoholic drinks and sweet beverages like eggnog and punch to a minimum, as they can be high in sugar and can tip your blood glucose to the high side.
Need help with diabetes management? Call one of our offices in Sugar Land or Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment. Or you can use the online scheduler here on the website right now.