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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

It’s easy to let our good intentions for healthy eating get out of control during the holiday season, but if you have diabetes, maintaining self-control while everyone else is indulging in candy and cookies can be even more difficult.

If you have diabetes, however, the holiday season doesn’t have to be a complete letdown. You can still enjoy all the fun, and, as long as you keep a few things in mind, managing diabetes shouldn’t set back your holiday festivities at all.

Dinner Parties and Other Food-Heavy Fun

If you have plans to hit up a holiday party, avoid the heavy caloric intake by eating a healthy snack prior to arrival in order to avoid overeating once you get there. Don’t be afraid to inquire about what will be served, and offer to bring something that fits your health needs to share with everyone. Diabetics are particularly concerned about carbohydrates, so it’s easy to overcompensate with extra protein, but too much red meat can have different unhealthy, adverse effects. Opt instead for chicken, turkey or fish.

Buffets are the life of many parties, so keep things under control with small portions, low-calorie drinks and healthy options. Avoid anything that is soaked in sauces, glazes or dressings, and keep salt-heavy items away from your plate. Casseroles and anything breaded may be especially high in calories. Though it may be tempting to taste a little bit of everything, pick just a few things that you really want to eat.

Work It Out

We can all probably do with adding a few extra workouts into our schedules over the holidays, and this is also true for diabetics. People with type 2 diabetes are often on medications that can’t be adjusted to food intake, but they need to manage the impact of food on blood sugar levels and overall weight. To avoid gaining weight during the holiday season, people with type 2 diabetes may want to work in a little extra exercise.

Keep a Routine

If you’ll be traveling, check your sugar levels often because a change in routine can throw your body off. Carry any medications (and bring extra supplies) you need with you when you travel, and make sure everything is properly labeled and in original packaging, especially if you’ll be flying. Because healthy food might not be handy when you need it, always keep plenty of snacks in pre-measured serving sizes by your side if you need something to eat in a pinch. If you’ll be changing time zones, keep this time change in mind to keep your routine consistent.

Focus on the Important Stuff

Don’t mourn the fact that you can’t eat plates packed with sugar and salt. The holidays are about spending time with loved ones, and though a lot of that bonding time happens over food, it’s not about the food. Take the initiative to organize your own holiday get together that focuses on something else such as reading favorite holiday books around the fireplace or going ice skating at the local park. Memories are built on special moments, not packed cookie jars.

RESOURCES

“Managing Diabetes During the Holidays.” CDC.gov. (December 1, 2010) Retrieved November 8, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/DiabetesManagement/.

“Managing Diabetes During the Holidays.” DiabeticCareServices.com. Retrieved November 8, 2011 from http://www.diabeticcareservices.com/diabetes-education/diabetes-and-the-holiday.

“UI Offers Tips on Managing Diabetes During the Holidays.” UIHealthcare.com. (December 12, 2005) Retrieved November 8, 2011 from http://www.uihealthcare.com/news/news/2005/12/12overeat.html.