by Dr. Steven Waldman
With busy schedules, party food and drinks, and the desire to indulge in the name of being festive, the holiday season can be a tough time to stay on-track with your diabetes management. As always, talk to your health care provider if you have any specific questions or are not feeling well. Below are our tips for staying healthy during the holiday season.
- Don’t “save your calories” or appetite by fasting on a day before a party. This will lead to low blood sugar, and can have serious consequences. You won’t enjoy the party from a hospital bed! Take the time to eat sensibly throughout the day and pay attention to how you are feeling.
- Test your blood sugar regularly – this is particularly important when you are not sticking to your regular eating habits. Try to follow your normal eating and insulin habits as much as possible. Check out our tips for how to get the most accurate blood sugar reading at home.
- Eat something healthy before heading to a party or even out to eat. This will help to keep your blood sugar stable, and will help avoid the temptation to overindulge that extreme hunger can bring out.
- Talk with your health care provider about drinking. Is it ok for you to have a drink? If so, make sure that you eat something – don’t drink on an empty stomach! Check your blood sugar before and after drinking, and before you go to bed that night. Drink a lot of water before, during, and after a party. Here is a chart showing the average amount of carbs and sugars in different types of alcohol.
- Use a small plate, and fill it with at least 50% veggies. Look for choices focused on veggies and protein.
- Watch out for hidden sugars in unexpected places. Everyone knows that cookies and cake are high in sugar. It can also hide in savory places like barbecue sauce and bottled pasta sauce. Ask the host or a restaurant employee if you have questions about the ingredients of a certain dish.
- Stress can increase your blood sugar as much as indulging in the wrong foods! Take the time to relax – don’t over-extend yourself! Take a walk – exercise can help lower both blood sugar and stress. Test your blood sugar before and after exercise, and take note of these guidelines.
- Have fun and happy holidays!