Diabetes, COVID-19 and Healthy Eating during the Holidays

  • November 20, 2020

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season of family gatherings and the tradition of eating rich foods in large amounts, making this an especially difficult time of year if you’re managing diabetes. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it more challenging this year, as evidence shows that people with Type 2 diabetes have a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, and many diabetic patients are delaying doctor’s visits because of concerns about the pandemic.


Continuous care and support are important to controlling diabetes successfully, and Whittier Street Health Center offers both through its Center of Excellence in Diabetes Prevention and Obesity clinic. At the clinic, patients are supported in adopting healthy lifestyles by medical specialists in weight management, a pharmacy that focuses on diabetes management, and one-on-one Nutrition support with an on-staff Registered Dietician.


Beginning December 3rd, the clinic will also offer additional support for controlling this chronic illness, through an expanded program that will include virtual screenings and small group workshops focused on nutrition, eye care, podiatry, exercise, medication and other issues. Visit the Whittier Street Health Center website for information on upcoming workshop dates and times.

Here are a few guidelines for keeping diabetes under control in this stressful time:


Stay In Control

  • Choose a small plate of your favorite foods, avoid overserving at the buffet or when dining family style
  • Begin with a serving or two of non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, salad, broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower to better manage hunger cues at the start of the meal
  • Avoid/limit alcohol. If you do choose to have a drink, be sure to eat a healthy meal or snack alongside your beverage as alcohol can lower blood glucose levels and interfere with diabetes medications


Stay active!

  • Get moving with friends and family for a walk after a holiday dinner. Gentle exercise can help with digestion after a larger meal and reduce overall stress levels
  • Maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Sleep loss can contribute to variable blood sugars. When feeling tired, cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods are much more common. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to discourage overeating while giving you the energy to feel your best.


A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).