The tasty treats of the holiday season are one of the many things that people look forward to each December. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the excitement and deliciousness that the holiday has to offer.
A healthy diet and proper meal planning are an important part of diabetes management and blood glucose control. And managing your diabetes care during the holidays means that you must continue on with the same path and meal time management that you use during the other days of the year, just with a bit more flexibility.
It can be easy to get carried away with all the delicious food around you, but maintaining a meal plan is key to balanced blood glucose levels. It’s important to remember during the holiday season to not to get defeated. High blood glucose levels can happen for no good reason at all, no matter how diligent your care is.
Just like they say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry, you shouldn’t make your meal plan when you are hungry. Being hungry when planning your holiday meal can create flaws in your judgement and cause you to over plan. If you want to indulge in alcoholic beverages be sure to include these in your meal plan as well. They are typically more high in calories and can cause your blood glucose levels to rise and fall. Be sure to plan out your beverages as well and stick to the plan.
You may also want to mention to family members ahead of time that you are on a strict plan for the meal so that they won’t add to temptation and offer anything not on your plan.
Avoid Grazing Between Meals
Even with the best efforts, holiday meals never usually come out to the table on time. Because of this delay, it can lead to an increase in hunger which can also increase your temptation to graze between meals. A great addition to any meal plan is to account for possible food delays. By consuming protein pre-meal, you can help to ward off any ravenous hunger from waiting for dinner.
Drink Water Before Your Meal
By drink a full glass of water before you start to eat, you can reduce the amount of food you consume. Water will make you feel much more full early and help to reduce your appetite.
Don’t Forget the Vegetables
Make sure your plate is filled with a good portion of non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables help you to get the healthy carbs your body needs while keeping you fuller longer.
Slow Down and Enjoy Your Food
Eating with your family can be a good occasion to catch up and slow down with your meal. This will reduce the temptation of having to go for a second helping if you should finish before someone else. Eating much slower will give you time to communicate with family you may have not seen in a while and also allow you to enjoy the flavors of the holiday.
Out of Sight Out of Mind
When the meal is finished, it’s best to put the extra food out of the way and cover it up. This can help to keep temptations out of sight and keep you from grabbing them.
Test More Frequently
During the holidays, it’s important to include additional testing throughout the day to help catch any fluctuations in your blood sugar early enough.
Meal Time Sensible Options
Choosing which foods to indulge in can be challenging with so many options in front of you. The following examples are some great choices that can help to cut the fat and calories from your Christmas dinner.
- Turkey: Turkey is typically the main course of the Christmas meal. Eating the light colored meat versus the dark meat can help to reduce the total number of calories you consume.
- Roasted Potatoes: Keeping your fat total to a minimum during the holiday season is important in maintaining balanced blood glucose levels. You can keep the fat on your potatoes lower by roasting them instead of making mashed or using an oil spray when cooking.
- Vegetables: Filling at least 2/3’s of your plate with non-starchy vegetables can help to keep your calories lower and keep you feeling fuller much longer. This will leave less room for any temptations or even seconds.
- Dessert: It wouldn’t be Christmas without tasty desserts. Traditional desserts like mince pie and pudding are always a favorite of many people. By using skim milk in the pudding, you can cut down the total amount of fat you consume without sacrificing your dessert.
Bring Your Own Dishes
Everyone loves the extra bit of help in cooking the holiday meal. So if you are going to a friend or family members house take something you’ve made that can help cut down your calories and carbohydrates. They will surely love the additional help in creating an amazing meal.
Even though it can be tempting to slow down on your activity levels during the holiday season, it’s important to still remain as active as you were before. You can still make the holidays an active season even if you think you don’t have the time to squeeze it in.
- Take a walk after you finish your meal.
- Play a game outdoors if the weather allows.
- Use the extra time off to squeeze in extra activity.
One important thing to remember is that no one is perfect. No matter how hard we try to stay on our plans or manage blood glucose levels, sometimes not everything goes as planned and that is alright. The following day will be another chance. It’s vital to ensure you don’t beat yourself up about any mishaps that might happen or if things do not go as planned.