Tip of the quarter: holiday eating

Dec 11,2012
by Cathy Beyea, RN, CDE

Holidays, and holiday parties can be a hard time for controlling what we eat. It's especially important for anyone trying to control blood glucose levels. Here are a few tips that can help you enjoy this season and still keep your blood glucose in control:

  • Focus on friends and family instead of food. This is a time to enjoy interpersonal relationships and deepen bonds.


  • It’s a party, but you do not need to overdo it.Eat slowly and enjoy foods in moderation. Try to eat at your usual time and eat the same amount of carbohydrates you usually would.


  • If possible, ask in advance what foods will be served so that you can see how the party fits into your meal plan.


  • Don’t skip meals. Eat before you go out so that you are not so hungry that you overeat.


  • Bring your own special dish — that diabetes-friendly dish that you enjoy. If the party includes a buffet, fix your plate and move to another room away from the food.


  • If you drink alcohol, always drink in moderation. Remember the guidelines state that women can have one drink and men can have two drinks.


  • Make the holidays an active time. Enjoy the winter weather, take walks, play indoor games.


  • Watch out for desserts. Eat fruit instead of pie or cake. If you know that you will have a special desert, cut back on the other carbohydrates you are having with the meal so that you may allow yourself to indulge in a small dessert.


  • Watch out for the heavy holiday favorites — hams coated in honey glaze, turkey and gravy, those dishes that are loaded with butter and sour cream.


  • Avoid foods that are high in sodium.


  • If you overindulge, get back on track. Don’t dwell on mistakes. Start fresh the next day and monitor your blood glucose and watch your carbohydrates.


  • If traveling for the holidays, contact your diabetes educator for tips on caring for your diabetes when traveling, such as travelling with diabetes supplies, taking snacks, and how to take your medications if traveling to a different time zone. An important tip: always carry your insurance card with you along with your doctor’s name and phone number.

With a little focus and planning, you can enjoy the holidays fully, while continuing to
maintain your health. Happy holidays!

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