Sweet Holiday Tips for Diabetics
With care and moderation, people with diabetes can indulge, too
Once you're at a holiday meal or party, overeating is pretty
easy to do, especially since the rest of the guests are often overindulging.
However, Magee and Barrett tell WebMD that you shouldn't let yourself lose
- Beware what Barrett calls "unconscious eating," the tendency we all
have to absent-mindedly take a cookie or a piece of candy from a dish as we
pass by. A little here and there can add up quickly.
- Say "no" to seconds, and pay attention to the details.
"Remember, you can control how much gravy someone's putting on your plate,
or whether you're getting turkey skin or not," says Magee.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. In addition to raising your blood sugar, Barrett
says that alcohol can interact with diabetes medications.
- Test yourself. "If ever there is a time to be religious about taking
your blood sugars," says Magee, "it's during the holidays." Because
you may be eating more and eating foods that you don't normally have, it's
especially important to keep track of your levels.
- For a lot of people during the holidays, lounging in front of a football
game on TV is about as close as they get to physical fitness. That's not good
for anyone, and it's especially bad for diabetics. Magee suggests making
exercise social during the holidays. "Grab a favorite sibling or a friend
and go out for a walk," she says. "It's a great way to catch
- Mistakes happen, and you may wind up eating in a way that you shouldn't.
But don't let one instance of overeating cause you to give up and indulge in a
lost weekend of excess. If you've fallen off the wagon, Barrett says, you've
just got to pick yourself up quickly and get back to your plan.
Sticking to the Plan
Staying in control may be difficult and exhausting during the
holidays, especially when no one else is. Holidays are trying times for many,
and the extra hassle of having to always be so careful about what you eat may
get you down, or make you feel cut off from others. However, using some of the
tips above will help you enjoy the holidays along with everyone else.
In addition, it's worth remembering that the consequences of
going off your meal plan are often not only long-term, but immediate. "When
diabetics are off their program," says Magee, "whether their blood
sugar is up or down, they know it. They feel sick."
So even though planning ahead may sometimes be a chore, having
a healthy holiday is the best way to assure a festive one.