For those living with diabetes, the holiday season is fraught with temptation, and it can seem like there’s a dish of candy, a plate of homemade cookies, or a rich, decadent dinner on every table. It can be hard to resist sampling the goods and adding those extra carbohydrates and fats to your regular diet, but staying on track is especially important for those managing the condition. The following are great ideas for managing diabetes during the holidays.
Although it’s commonly thought that refined sugar is a diabetic’s nemesis, virtually all forms of carbohydrates will have the similar effect of surging blood sugar levels. Having a large serving of mashed potatoes or stuffing will have the same effect on glucose levels as having a candy bar, so “As at any time of the year,” says Dr. Gene Barrett, MD, of the department of internal medicine at the University of Virginia, “you should be eating a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fat.” Consuming a good amount of fiber in your diet along with complex, low-glycemic carbohydrates is also important for staying healthy with diabetes. Finally, don’t forget to test your levels regularly to make sure you’re on track and not overdoing it.
Know your system
Every diabetic has a different system and will react differently to changes in their diet. Figuring out which balance of foods works for you will help keep your levels within a healthy range, and while counting every calorie might be difficult, it’s important to have a general sense of how combinations of fiber, carbs and fats will affect you in advance.
Anticipate Your Options
If possible, try to anticipate what might be available at the event you’re attending and adjust your day’s consumption in advance. Expecting Aunt Fanny’s world famous pecan pie after dinner? Skip the cookies in the office lunchroom. Also, before you take a plate at the potluck, peruse the entire spread to see what’s available and decide which calorie-rich options would be most delicious for you to try.
No Mindless Eating
It’s easy to find yourself grazing from dish to dish or making multiple trips to the buffet when you’re not even hungry, a practice called “mindless eating.” A term coined by Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, PhD., “mindless eating” refers to the distracted, subconscious eating habits that can lead us to unnecessary weight gain. Being aware of what you’re eating, when you’re eating, and how much is important for managing diabetes during the holidays, so be sure to pay attention to your consumption.
Unfortunately, relying on your stomach to tell you when you’re full is a bad idea. A great way around eating more than you plan to is to use smaller plates. Numerous studies show that our eyes are far larger than our stomachs, and if food is served on large dishes or drinks in large glasses, we’re more likely to keep eating and drinking until they’re emptied, regardless of satiety. Starting with smaller dishes will give you room for smaller portions, and committing to NOT going up for seconds is a great way to watch your weight and stay healthy with diabetes this season and into the New Year.
Need Help With Your Weight Loss Goals?
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