Healthy Choices for People With Diabetes

Ten ways to revel in the season without tipping the scales and putting your health at risk:

The many times sung twelve days of Christmas are soon upon us promising merriment, festivities and some pretty tough choices for individuals battling diabetes. The holidays can be fraught with peril for people with diabetes. There are just so many ways to end up on Santa’s naughty list. While the season is an often magical time of year filled with family, friends and festivities, it is also filled with food, most of which doesn’t add up to good nutrition for diabetics. For individuals managing their diabetes, the season can be very difficult, and yet, with a little pre-planning, enjoying holiday parties and meals does not have to preclude healthy choices.

1. Make a plan, decide how much and what you will eat before you arrive.

In all likelihood, you will attend more than one gathering this season so don’t get carried away. These are special meals meant to be enjoyed in moderation. Portion size is still important so take your time eating and forego a second helping.

2. Don’t skip meals.

You might be tempted to skip breakfast or lunch to make room for party grazing but this sets you up for disaster. Skipping meals and snacks will make it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Additionally, you are much more likely to make sound choices and avoid overeating if you don’t arrive at an event famished. While you shouldn’t skip meals and snacks, you can eat lighter and keep snacks small and lower calorie to balance out party eating.

3. Fill up on the good stuff.

If you fill up on the healthiest choices early on, you’ll be less likely to overeat the less than stellar food choices. Skip the chips and greasy appetizers in favour of fresh vegetables and dip. Forget the starchy sides and opt for choices like garlic sautéed spinach. If you are entertaining, you can find healthy, delicious holiday recipes online.

4. Insure you have good choices.

When you bring along a healthy, diabetes friendly dish, not only do you insure you will have healthy alternatives but you contribute to the celebration. You can bring a healthier version of a traditional holiday dish or a revised family favorite. It is vital to remember that you are not the only one trying to make wise choices, friends and family who are mindful of their food intake will be relieved to have more healthy options.

5. Navigating the dessert table.

If you are going to have dessert, skip the bread or mashed potatoes during dinner. Reasonable portions of sweets can take the place of other carbohydrates in your meal planning. Low sugar and no sugar alternatives like baked apples, modified cookies or sugar-free pudding are guilt free indulgances.

6. Don’t bend to peer pressure.

Don’t let well meaning friends or family push you to eat in a way that is not healthful for you. A gentle but firm ‘no thank you’ is an appropriate way to establish your food boundaries. Likewise, look for support in other friends and family who are trying to enjoy the holiday season without derailing their diets or health. Maybe you haven’t had any time to recalibrate your holiday favorites to be more healthful but you can be sure someone else has. The Internet is a huge, free resource for diabetic friendly recipes.

7. Move it.

Don’t let the busy holiday season break your established, good habits. Maybe you have to get creative but makephysical activity a priority. Get up after dinner and go for a walk. This will help you digest and avoid munching.

8. Go easy on the imbibing.

Crave that glass of wine or gin and tonic? Have no more than a single drink and be certain you eat something to prevent low blood glucose levels. Better yet, skip the spirits entirely and have a sparkling water with a splash of cider or a piping hot mug of sugar-free hot cocoa.

9. If you fall off the sled, get back on.

If despite your best intentions, you go overboard one night, don’t throw up your hands and give up. Assess what went wrong, problem solve how you can manage better next time and start fresh. There is no reason to let one slip up throw you into a downward spiral.

10. Remember it’s about family and friends not food.

Focus on enjoying time spent with family and friends catching up , relaxing and all of the wonderful moments of the season that go beyond what’s for dinner.

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