Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for People with Diabetes — and Those Who Care about Them
The holidays can make it tough on all of us to keep up with healthy eating habits. And if you have diabetes, overindulging on unhealthy foods can negatively impact blood sugar levels and increase your risk of health complications. Because it can be so hard to resist the temptation of many holiday foods, try out these tips to ensure that you’re able to enjoy the holiday season without putting yourself at risk. And if you don’t have diabetes, but you care about someone who does, try talking to them about how they can use these tips to keep themselves happy and healthy this holiday season.
1. Make a food plan.
If you have a special holiday dinner coming up, continue to eat sensibly leading up to that meal. Follow your normal routine of eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, rather than skipping meals and overindulging on holiday treats.
2. Be careful with sugary drinks.
Some traditional holiday drinks like cider, eggnog, and punch are surprisingly high in sugar and can lead to big spikes in blood sugar. Try limiting the amount you drink by diluting them with water or seltzer, or alternating them with sugar-free beverages.
3. Mix in healthy alternatives with your favorites.
Add fruits and veggies to your plate to replace larger portions of higher carbohydrate foods like potatoes, pasta, and rice-based dishes. There are several great holiday recipes online that put a lighter spin on some holiday favorites — check out the American Diabetes Association website for some examples.
4. Continue your exercise plan.
It’s important to have an exercise plan you can sustain throughout the season, even when it gets cold out. Consider online or virtual fitness programs that guide you through at-home indoor exercises. Or, if you’re still eager to get outside, bundle up and take a walk or a jog.
5. Take medicines as prescribed.
If you’re traveling during the holidays, remember to bring all needed medicines with you, and confirm that you have enough doses to last your entire trip, until you can refill them when you get home.
6. Test blood sugar levels regularly.
Carry all supplies when traveling, like your insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor, and set reminders to continue testing throughout the day or as directed by your doctor. If you notice a blood sugar spike, take a quick walk to bring it down, or take additional medicines if recommended by your doctor.
If you have any questions or concerns around planning for the holidays, make an appointment with your Primary Care Provider to discuss how you can be prepared to stay on top of your condition.