The holidays can be fraught with risk for individuals with type 2 diabetes but if diabetics follow just a few, simple tips, they can enjoy the festive food and drink during the season without sacrificing the joy of celebration.
It’s a fact of life that many of the party foods and holiday treats served at your typical family or work-related get-togethers are loaded with sugar and fat. In addition to their overall caloric intake, those with diabetes must keep a close eye on what they eat and how much to avoid potentially dangerous fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. Fortunately, the medications that diabetics have at their disposal today provide them with a fair degree of latitude when it comes to enjoying their holiday favorites.
Here are some tips to help keep over-indulging in check:
Eat normally during the day, instead of skipping meals to save calories for the annual holiday dinner
Strategically choose your favorite appetizers and dishes, instead of filling up on chips
Create a small plate of your favorite foods and move throughout the party to socialize, away from the buffet
Choose naturally sweetened foods, like fruits, to satisfy your sweet tooth after leaving the holiday party, instead of indulging in the scrumptious leftover pumpkin cheesecake
Proper exercise is a key component for managing diabetes, but it’s easy to let your exercise program slip during the holidays. Instead, renew your pledge to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, including:
- Starting your day with an activity to ensure you’ve met your daily activity goal
- Improving your mood with sunlight and spending time outdoors
- Walking off the anxiety and stress with a half-hour walk every day
- Taking a lap around the mall to window-shop before entering the stores
- Inviting friends to join your activity to socialize and increase your enjoyment while exercising
If you’re traveling during the holidays, be mindful that a change in daily routine and location can throw off even the best laid plans, so be prepared for your travels by:
- Packing snacks and allowing time for stopping to eat meals, as traveling creates changes to meal and medication schedules
- Creating a travel checklist to avoid forgetting medications and those snacks you packed
- Frequently testing your blood glucose to increase awareness of any effects from travel
- Reviewing airport security guidelines and using the Airport Information Card to ensure your medications are properly secured for travel and to understand available medical care services
When it comes to diabetes management during the holidays, you can handle the season knowing you’ve planned well and have the resources you need at your fingertips. Remember to take the time to invest in yourself and your health. Happy Holidays!