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Don’t Wreck Your Diet this Holiday Season: Tips for Healthy Diabetes Management

A happy family enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner

Diabetes doesn’t have to devastate the holidays. 34.2 million Americans live with diabetes.

The majority of them enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season. Diabetes management and navigating the holidays can go hand-in-hand, as long as you know some basic tips.

How can you modify the seasonal diet for your needs? What should you do if you want to indulge or drink some alcohol? How can you adjust your exercise routine to the holidays?

Answer these questions and you can keep your blood sugar down while raising your joy up. Here is your quick guide.

Be Selective Yet Diverse

The holiday season likes its carbohydrates. Dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie spike the blood sugar and make it harder to start dealing with diabetes.

Yet there are plenty of holiday dishes you can enjoy. Roasted turkey and green beans are good options.

But it is okay to have one serving of a dish that is carbohydrate-heavy. Try finding a side dish that you only have during the holidays. Most people eat a bread roll or mashed potatoes during other parts of the year, but they have stuffing at Thanksgiving.

You can otherwise follow standard dietary tips for diabetics. Prioritize vegetables and low-fat sources of protein. Have some fruit instead of a sugary dessert.

Have Smaller Portions

It is okay to have a few side dishes. You can incorporate them into a meal by reducing your portions.

Keep to two tablespoons per serving. This gives you more than a taste of the dish without spiking your blood sugar too much.

You should keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum. If you are going to have a few carbohydrate-heavy side dishes at dinner, do not eat too many carbs at lunch.

Try to find substitutions for your dishes. You can make stuffing with whole-grain bread, or you can eat mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.

Select Healthy Snacks

Snacks keep your blood sugar from dropping to dangerous levels. You should have one or two small snacks over the course of a day.

Yet holiday snacks tend to be caloric and fatty. Many recipes rely on butter and red meat, or they are deep-fried.

If you are going to a party, ask the host what snacks they plan on serving. Try to eat cut vegetables, nut mixes, and dips like hummus.

When in doubt, bring your own snack to the party. You can also eat a snack before you head out. If you do have an unhealthy snack, cut back on your portions during dinner.

Drink Well

Alcoholic beverages can have mixed effects. They can give you antioxidants, but they can contain high amounts of carbohydrates.

The best alcoholic drinks for diabetics are low-carb drinks. You can find many light beers such as Miller Lite. But wine and distilled spirits like gin contain the fewest carbs.

Make sure to drink responsibly. Alcohol can interfere with how certain blood sugar medications work.

You can skip the alcohol and drink water instead. Have a glass of water with every meal, as it helps with digestion.

You can also drink green tea and coffee, especially for a lunchtime meal. Avoid fruit juice and mixers that may have sweeteners in them.

Find a Good Schedule

Try to keep to a good schedule for timing your meals. If you like breakfast, you can eat a large breakfast in the morning and have smaller meals during lunch and dinner.

This may help keep your blood sugar levels consistent over the course of the day. Yet you should prioritize protein and fiber over carbohydrates. Eat eggs, fruit, and oatmeal instead of pancakes and French toast.

If you don’t like breakfast, you can eat a slightly earlier lunch at around 11:00 a.m. You should then eat a slightly earlier dinner around 5:00 p.m. Try to avoid going more than six hours without food because your blood sugar may change rapidly.

Maintain an Exercise Routine

You need to know several things about diabetes and exercise. The holiday season doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. Get in at least one hour of physical exertion every day.

You can incorporate preparing for the holidays into your exercise routine. Sweeping the floors, hanging up decorations, and moving furniture burn calories. Volunteer to help out with an event so you can burn a few calories getting things ready.

It is okay to exercise indoors when it is too cold or icy out. You can do nearly all stretches and most aerobic workouts indoors. You can walk up and downstairs rather than walking or running outside.

You can perform your exercise whenever it is convenient for you. If you exercise in the morning, eat breakfast before going out.

Make sure to check your blood sugar before any extensive exercise. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is low or if you are feeling weak. Stop exercising if you start shaking or feeling muscle pain or weakness.

The Basics of Diabetes Management During the Holidays

Diabetes management during the holidays is possible. Enjoy healthy dishes like roasted turkey. Load up on vegetables, but have some small samples of your favorite side dishes.

Eat snacks so your blood sugar levels remain flat. If you want alcohol, opt for a low-carb beer or a glass of red wine. But make sure to drink plenty of water.

Adjust how you exercise to the season. Cleaning your house can burn calories, and you can perform aerobic workouts indoors.

Prepare for the holidays with expert help. Diabetes & Endocrinology Specialists of El Paso accepts all patients. Schedule an appointment today.


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