The Holiday Season is one of the happiest times of the year, but for those living with diabetes it can become a stressful and overwhelming time. If you or a member of your family are diabetic, below are some healthy holiday eating tips to help get you through the season without negatively affecting your treatment.
1. Plan ahead
Whether you’re attending a holiday party at someone’s house or at a restaurant, a little extra preparation can go a long way towards successfully maintaining a healthy holiday eating plan.
One of the best things you can do is contact the host of the party a few days before the party and get more information on what will be served for the main course and for dessert. If you’re going to a restaurant you can check the menu online or call to see what’s included in the holiday serving.
Knowing your meal options can significantly reduce stress leading up to the party and will allow you to make a healthy holiday eating plan so you can stick to it once you’re at the party. Impulse eating, especially on empty carbs and sweets, is one of the main things you should be trying to avoid.
Set yourself up for success by making a plan of what you’re going eat before you even step foot into the party.
2. Bring Your Own Dish
If the party you’re attending doesn’t have many healthy options then you might have to prepare your own dish.
Bringing a dish to share with everyone at the party ensures you’ll at least have one healthy holiday eating option.
Not sure what to bring? Keep in mind that you can make slight changes to some of your favorite holiday meals and recipes in order to make it healthier and still taste great. For example, if you’re concerned about the amount of sugar in the dessert options at the party then you can offer to bring a dessert and make it so it better fits your daily eating habits and doesn’ta large impact on your blood glucose or insulin levels. For many desserts, you can simply reduce the amount of recommended sugar in the recipe without too much change to the final taste or consistency.
3. Drink Water Prior to the Main Meal
Drinking a glass of water prior to the main meal is a common tactic used to fill your stomach a bit prior to the main meal. In addition to assisting with digestion this will also help keep you from overeating as the water will make you feel full, faster.
Drinking water is also a great substitution to sugary drinks like sodas, juice, and holiday cocktails that can significantly impact your blood glucose levels.
4. Focus on Smaller Portions
While it’s important to stick to your healthy eating in order to keep your weight and glucose levels under control, it’s also important to enjoy the holidays and the great foods that come along with the season.
One way to do both is by reducing the size of your portions. You can have those buttery mashed potatoes. but you don’t have to have an entire dinner-sized plate of buttery mashed potatoes. Controlling your portions is a great way to enjoy the holiday feast without going overboard.
It’s also a good idea to avoid leftovers. Enjoy the food of the day and then get back to your regularly scheduled meal program.
TIP: Using a smaller plate will help you with portion control. However, this isn’t an excuse to go back for seconds or to pile the smaller plate a mile high.
5. Don’t Skip Meals in order to “Make Room”
Some of us get so excited for the holiday feast that we decide to skip meals before and after so we can “make room” for the large meal of the day. For diabetics, this is an especially bad decision.
It’s very important to stick as close to your regular eating schedule as possible in order to maintain your glucose and insulin levels, as well as to avoid overeating during the big meal.
6. Focus More on the Fun and Less on the Feast
While it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and planning of holiday eating, it’s important to focus more on the time with family and friends, and less on the food. This will reduce your anxiety and help you get through the meal without going off your plan. It’s also a good idea not to linger around the food and snack tables. Interacting, mingling, and having conversations with family and friends is calorie free and will help keep your mind off of dinner.
With the new medications and technology available for treating diabetes, there’s never been a better time to be diabetic. If you need help controlling and treating your diabetes, book an appointment with one of our endocrinologists today.