We all know the holidays include fabulous feasts and tempting snacks. It’s an endearing part of the celebration that can make it difficult to stick with a healthy diet.
But for someone with diabetes, indulging your appetite at this special time of year can lead to real health complications that last for weeks to months afterward. So how do you join the festivities without giving in to the temptation?
Dr. Mustafa Ahmed is a board-certified bariatric surgeon and weight-loss specialist who is also known for his expertise in diabetes management. He leads our team here at Southern Nevada Bariatrics in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is happy to supply a few tips about maintaining good blood sugar control while enjoying all the fun and flavor of the holidays.
1. Check your blood sugar frequently
Plan now to monitor your blood sugar more carefully during the holidays. This will help you act as soon as you notice an upward trend. Before the holidays begin is a good time to make sure your diabetes management plan is up to date and doing its job. Dr. Ahmed is always happy to meet with you to discuss blood sugar control, medication, and diet.
2. Enjoy the foods you love, but choose wisely
If you know you can’t resist that fabulous family dessert that’s only available during the holidays, enjoy a small serving and savor every bite. But remember to count it in your meal plan and drop a serving of potatoes or other carbs during the meal that you can live without just this once.
3. Don’t join the celebration hungry
You might be tempted to restrict your meals throughout the day so you can indulge during the holiday gathering. This can increase your appetite and make it easier to overeat. Also, a load of carbs at one sitting rather than spread throughout the day sends your blood sugar soaring.
Instead, stick with smaller, carb-conscious meals during the day. If the meal is later than normal, enjoy an approved snack at your regular mealtime to take the edge off your hunger so you’re satisfied with a little less at dinner.
4. Bring your own offering of healthy goodies
Bring a plate of fresh vegetables to the table. They satisfy your crunch craving and curb your appetite while others are munching on carb-heavy crackers and chips. Fresh fruits topped with yogurt and a sprinkling of nuts can replace that not so healthy dessert and appease your sweet tooth, leaving you feeling satisfied rather than overly stuffed and grumpy.
5. Prep meals in advance
Holiday celebrations require a lot of advance prep, which can make it tough to stick with your routine in the days leading up to an event. Get into the habit of preparing approved meals and snacks before the chaos begins so you can eat healthy while on the run.
6. Choose wisely
You can eat what you want during the holidays, but you must choose whether that single cookie is worth skipping a serving of potatoes. So, track the carbs and added sugars and include them in your daily totals. And if you do blow your meal plan, start fresh with the next snack or meal, and remember to adjust your medications as necessary if directed by your specialist to do that.
7. Get moving
Exercise is a major component of successful blood sugar control, and it’s also a proven stress reliever. Did you know that stress increases blood sugar levels? So, don’t skip your morning workout, afternoon walk, or yoga session.