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Healthy Holiday Survival Tips for Those Living with Diabetes

The holidays are often an enjoyable time we look forward to each year to reminisce with family and friends, but the focus on food during the holiday season can be taxing, especially for families dealing with diabetes.

7 Tips to Manage Diabetes during the Holiday Season

Even with the temptations of delicious sweets and heavy foods surrounding you this time of year, keeping your weight and blood sugars under control during holiday festivities is attainable.

Don’t let your holidays be consumed with questions about what to eat, how much to eat, and how often to eat. One of the best ways to manage your diabetes this time of year is to plan ahead.

1. Plan ahead- if planning to attend a holiday party, find out what’s on the menu ahead of time.  Offer to host this year’s Thanksgiving and prepare flavorful, new recipes for your loved ones that are both heart healthy and diabetes-friendly.

2. Limit alcohol intake- moderate alcohol consumption can have a blood sugar-lowering effect, so avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Different alcoholic beverages vary in the amounts of calories and sugars so it may be helpful to glance nutrition information about your preferred drinks.

Note: it is recommended that those with diabetes drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and no more than 2 for men.

3. Follow the mindset of “timing is everything”- If your family tends to eat their large holiday meals at odd times, plan in advance of how you will handle making changes if your meal does not line up with your regular meal schedule so that you can have healthy snacks on hand.

4. Try healthier substitutions in your favorite holiday recipes- some of the traditional holiday foods can taste just as delicious with some simple substitutions.

  • Try putting fat-free or light sour cream in your casseroles instead of regular.
  • Use less sugar in your traditional fruit pies.
  • Leave the marshmallows and brown sugar out of the sweet potatoes.
  • Instead of making mashed potatoes with heavy whipping creams, try roasting potatoes.

5. Check your blood sugar frequently- if taking insulin or other medications that lower your blood sugar, check your blood sugar more often during the holidays, especially before driving a car or adjusting your insulin doses.

6Have snacks on hand- whether you are cooking or eating at someone’s home, have healthy foods on hand to nibble on to keep your blood sugar regulated.

  • Avoid indulging in in fried appetizers
  • Make sure the snacks you choose won’t disrupt your blood glucose levels before the big meal.

7. Keep the carbs in moderation- traditional Thanksgiving meals are typically loaded with carbohydrates. Try keeping your total carb intake similar to any other day. If having trouble deciding on just a few carb-loaded dishes you want to indulge in, take very small portions of different dishes to satisfying your holiday cravings.