The holidays can procure anxiety for those trying to balance the demands of the holidays while managing their type II diabetes. This time of year is filled with social gatherings, family get-togethers, holiday travel, and an abundance of sugary treats! While your schedule fills with social events, shopping, and baking, good nutrition and exercise habits can easily fall to the wayside. We can even convince ourselves that January 1st is only a few weeks away and life will resume its normalcy at that time.
When you attend holiday parties it’s important to follow a few simple tricks to find success. As a follow up to the great post on managing Sweet Holiday Party Tips for People with Diabetes, here are some of my additional tips to make sure the holidays are enjoyable for everyone while maintaining any health condition.
- Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Seeing as carbohydrate-containing foods are the ones that raise glucose levels, be sure to choose carbohydrate-containing foods you enjoy most. If you prefer sweet over salty, shy away from the crackers on the hors d’oeuvres table to be sure you have enough carbohydrates reserved to enjoy a dessert item.
- Balance carbohydrate-containing foods with non-starchy vegetables and protein-rich foods, such as meats, seafood, fish, poultry, cheese, and nuts. By including plenty of vegetables and protein-rich foods, you can learn to balance carbohydrate-rich foods with very low-carbohydrates foods. Achieving this balance is hugely helpful in blood glucose management, particularly when people tend to over-indulge.
- Reduce portions. Choose a smaller plate with smaller portions and resist helping yourself to seconds. Without changing what you eat, many people find favorable results in their glucose levels from simply eating less.
- Position yourself away from the food if it is buffet-style or open-house style. Having food out of sight will reduce the amount you eat and thus your blood glucose levels.
- Stay on your schedule. Despite the demands of holiday gatherings, remember to adhere to your diabetic oral agents and insulin regimens, as well as your glucose self-monitoring.
The truth is, December comes around every year, and it’s important to learn how to manage the complexities of things like holiday parties while working to best control type II diabetes. By striving for small behavior changes, you can get through holiday parties and the season without backsliding. Just think of how happy you will be in January when your glucose levels are controlled and your weight has remained stable – or dropped – during the hectic holiday season.
Most importantly, remember that holiday parties are a social time meant for fun. Forgive yourself for any slip-ups and learn for the next time what you wish to improve upon. Achieving good glycemic control does not mean never splurging on foods you love, but learning how to manage food situations for best outcomes.
Nicole Morrissey, RD works as the Director of Nutrition Services at a local hospital in Southwest Michigan and holds a master’s degree in Nutrition and Wellness. Her diverse work experience includes over 2 years of leading meetings for Weight Watchers as well as past experience with diabetes, renal disease, bariatrics, food service and education. For more information, visit her on her blog PreventionRD.com or follow her on twitter @PreventionRD.