November is National Diabetes Month as well as the start of many fun upcoming holiday festivities. Following Halloween, the winter months involve sharing time with family, enjoying delicious meals, travel, and celebration. For those with diabetes, brainstorming ways to stay within a normal routine while still enjoying holiday treats can seem daunting. It is important to manage your diabetes during the holiday season much like every day. By planning ahead, you are better able to stay on track with mindful eating. Here are a few simple, easy tips to help you stay on track with diet, medication, and lifestyle patterns.
Aim to eat, exercise, and take medications as close to usual times as possible to maintain consistency in your routine. Avoid skipping meals to save room for upcoming meals as this can increase difficulty in controlling your blood sugar. Those who restrict dietary intake earlier in the day often consume more calories through overeating out of hunger later on.
Stay In Control
- Choose a small plate of your favorite foods, avoid overserving at the buffet table 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
- Practice mindful eating. Slow down and savor your food paying close attention to sensory cues. What tastes do you pick up on? Think about mouthfeel, chew thoroughly
- Avoid/limit any 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 during this busy time of year
- 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 seven to eight hours of sleep each night to help discourage any episodes of overeating while giving you the energy to feel your best when keeping up with social plans and events
Devon Brownlee, MS, RD, LDN
Whittier Street Health Center