If you’re one of the more than 34 million Americans working to manage diabetes, the holiday season presents a challenge. The savory temptations and sugary treats can make staying in control of your blood sugar difficult for even the healthiest of eaters.
Managing your diet is essential if you want to prevent serious health issues from developing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a treat now and then.
At Beth and Howard Braver, MD, our team of expert physicians and care providers offer our top holiday survival tips to help you stay healthy and in control of your blood sugar this holiday season.
Follow a plan to keep blood sugar in control
During the holiday season, temptations are everywhere. Making and following a plan that keeps you eating on schedule reduces cravings and helps you avoid dramatic shifts in your blood sugar levels. This is true during the holiday season and all year long.
If you attend any holiday get-togethers, don’t forget to bring your testing kit along. You can use your phone to plan and record the foods and beverages you eat and set reminders or alarms when it’s time to have a healthy snack or meal.
Bring rescue foods and snacks
When you’re out celebrating, it’s easy to skip a meal or snack. This is dangerous when you have diabetes because your blood sugar can drop too low.
Skipping planned meals or snacks also increases your appetite and makes it harder to moderate your consumption of holiday treats that may create a blood sugar spike.
To help keep you on track, bring rescue foods along whenever you head out this holiday season. These foods should have about 15 grams of carbohydrates to help keep your blood sugar level if you can’t eat a planned meal.
Keep easy-to-store and -carry protein-rich snacks, like almonds or mixed nuts, on hand so you have a quick way to keep your blood sugar level between meals.
Practice moderation with treats
The holidays have many special foods, and it’s natural to want to enjoy some treats along with your family and friends. Practicing moderation makes it possible to indulge this holiday season and stay healthy.
For example, instead of loading your plate with large portions, create a sampler plate and take a few bites of your favorite holiday foods. Don’t forget to take insulin before eating and pack extra in case your blood sugar spikes.
Use mindful eating to enjoy holiday foods safely
Mindful eating means slowing down and noticing each bite. This helps diabetics because it works to prevent overeating.
The signal from your stomach to your brain that tells you to stop eating takes about 20 minutes to register. If you’ve been eating quickly, you’ve already eaten too much by the time you realize it.
Mindful eating helps you enjoy holiday foods safely because it helps keep your intake moderate and lets you enjoy the flavors and experience of your favorite holiday treats.
If you struggle with mindful eating, try taking sips of water between each bite. Concentrate on the sensations on your tongue and slowing your jaw.
Drink water first
The holiday season isn’t just a food trap for diabetics. The holiday cheer extends to sugary beverages like whipped cream-topped cocoa and holiday-flavored cocktails. While delicious, these kinds of drinks can elevate your blood sugar very quickly.
To keep alcoholic drinks and beverages high in sugar to a minimum, drink water first. Limit your intake of these dangerously sugary drinks. Instead, opt for sugar-free options, like sparkling water and herbal teas with holiday flavors.
If you have diabetes and want help creating a holiday survival plan or have questions about managing your blood sugar, contact the Beth and Howard Braver MD office nearest you or book online now. We’re located in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida.