The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, right? It certainly can be magical, as you get together with far-flung family and friends, connecting over shared meals and celebrations, and taking in the candles and holiday lights. But this season can also be stressful, especially if you are working to manage your diabetes.
Potential Pitfalls When Managing Blood Sugar
Those family-gathering holiday meals can include a lot of high calorie, carbohydrate-dense, decadent foods and drinks that are hard to pass up. It’s the one time of year that eggnog is found at the store! And how can you say no to your favorite aunt’s classic homemade pie? All those carbs, added sugars and fat may taste good in the moment, but they can derail a diabetes-friendly eating plan.
Stress can also send blood sugar levels spinning. Holiday time means madness at the malls and last-minute shopping for gifts for everyone on your list. You might see the effects of all this stress on your blood sugar readings.
Make a Plan to Prioritize Health
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and set aside well-established routines. You still want to enjoy the season and not deprive yourself, but how can you do that while still managing your diabetes? With a pre-established plan!
6 Plan-Ahead Tips for Holiday Celebrations
- Stick to Your Eating Plan. Resist the temptation to eat light during the day so you can go indulge at the holiday party. Not only can it wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, but we tend to overdo it when we’ve been denying ourselves all day.
- Manifest Your Meal. It’s hard to stick to a diabetes-friendly eating plan when there are so many added sugars and high-carb temptations around. One helpful tip is to visualize your plate ahead of time. Think through which dishes and sides are the most important for you to eat, how to portion them so they fit on your plate, how many drinks you plan to have. Replay these images in your head, or even write them down if it helps.
- Serve Yourself Small Portions. There are so many foods and flavors that seem to only come out this time of year: eggnog and gingerbread, stuffing and gravy, pumpkin and pecans. Remember that the first bite of food is often the most memorable. Instead of slicing a big piece of pie, cut yourself a sliver and savor it.
- Know Your Lower-Carb Options. Sweet treats and starchy foods are common at the holidays, but so are protein-rich foods like turkey, pork and beef, as well as seasonal vegetables. For appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, focus on fiber-rich foods like bell peppers and celery on the veggie tray, or choose low-fat and protein-rich shrimp cocktail. At mealtime, look for lean cuts of meat like breast or loin.
- Pack Your Favorite Snacks and Go-To Foods. If you’re traveling this holiday season, tote your own snacks and nutrient-dense foods to keep your healthy eating plan humming along while you’re out of your routine. Bring a few single-serve containers of BOOST Glucose Control® Nutritional Drinks or BOOST Glucose Control® MAX 30g Protein Drinks in your favorite flavors to have on your long car ride or as part of a meal at your holiday destination. You’ll be sure to get the protein and balanced nutrition you need to help manage blood sugar levels as part of a balanced diet. Incorporate BOOST Glucose Control® Nutritional Drinks into a balanced diet as part of a medically supervised diabetes management plan. Not a substitute for medication.
- Invigorate Your Senses. Settle frazzled nerves by going for a walk. Better yet, go with a family member so you can connect in a food-free way. The fresh air also does wonders for the mind, and the exercise gets your heart pumping while helping to keep blood sugar levels in check.
- Be Your Own Best Friend. If your fellow dinner guests comment on your food choices, try to ignore those unnecessary remarks or at least be firm but polite in sticking up for yourself. The food police are never invited to dinner, especially on the holidays! But most of all, if you stray from your plan, be kind to yourself. It’s just one meal, one day, and you can course-correct. You can even make a contract with yourself on how you plan to navigate holiday meals and get-togethers, which includes how to enjoy yourself while keeping your blood sugar levels stable.