The most important thing about managing diabetes during the holiday season is to plan ahead. Below are a few things to consider.
What does your schedule look like for the holiday season? Are you going out of town with your family? Having visitors stay with you? Do your plans usually include a lot of parties and food-oriented events? Or are your holidays more active, with events such as the annual family Thanksgiving football game?
Schedule time for physical activity on most days this holiday season. Talk to your health care team ahead of time if you need to make adjustments in your medication or insulin because of the timing of holiday meals or travel. Manage holiday stress by sorting out your plans in advance.
Once you know what your day will consist of, then start to think about the food involved. Do you have traditional dishes that you make every year? There's no need to completely rework your menu just because of diabetes, but you may want to fine-tune it a bit.
Planning ahead can help. For example, maybe there are some ways you can make your traditional holiday foods a bit healthier. Will that casserole taste just as good with fat-free or light sour cream instead of regular? Can you steam the green beans this year instead of sautéing them in butter?
There are plenty of ways to lower the amount of fat, sugar, and carbohydrate in your favorite foods while still keeping the taste and texture you love. Check out our recipes or search online for healthier versions of your favorite foods.
If your family looks forward to your famous holiday fudge every year—go ahead and make it, but first talk to your diabetes educator or dietitian about how to work it into your meal plan. It may mean eating less of other treats, getting more exercise, increasing insulin doses, or a combination of all three.
The Importance of Portion Size
Avoid holiday weight gain by watching portion sizes. During the holiday season, when gatherings and even shopping trips are often centered on food, weight gain may seem unavoidable. But watching portion sizes can help prevent those extra pounds.
Looking for information on what to eat during Passover? Visit the Jewish Diabetes Association's Web site.
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