Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

The American Diabetes Association offers several recommendations for staying healthy through the holidays. Some of the suggestions are specifically for people with diabetes, but most of us can benefit from following all of these suggestions:

1. Think about the timing of your meal. If you have diabetes, plan in advance how you will handle making changes if your Thanksgiving dinner is at an “off” time to your regular meal schedule. If you take insulin or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you may need to have a snack at your regularly scheduled meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction. Check with your health care team if you have any questions. Don’t go to a party hungry – this may increase your chances of overeating. Eat a small healthy snack before leaving for the party.

2. Be physically active! The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition that involves being physically active and away from the food. Ideas include taking a walk with the whole family or playing Frisbee, soccer, or touch football with your children, grandchildren, or the neighborhood kids.

3. Foods for nibbling. Have foods to nibble on while you are cooking-or waiting-that won’t sabotage blood glucose levels and give you lots of extra calories before you sit down to eat. Try setting out a platter of raw or blanched veggies with your favorite low-calorie dip.

4. Make Choices. Don’t feel obligated to sample everything on the table. Whether it is the mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie that you enjoy the most, pick your favorites and pass on the rest. For example, if stuffing is your favorite, pass on rolls. Choose either sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes.

5. Smaller portions. Because high carbohydrate foods are plentiful at most Thanksgiving tables, watch your portion sizes. If you can’t decide on one or two carbohydrate-containing favorites to eat, have very small portions or “samples” of several dishes. Overall, try to keep your total carbohydrate and calorie intake similar to your everyday meals.

Get more information on diabetes management and preparing for holiday meals.