Tips for Living With Diabetes During the Holiday Season

While people with diabetes face many everyday hurdles, the holidays often present bigger challenges. From tables laden with sugary delights to the added stress that always seem to come with family gatherings, the holidays are full of potential landmines for people with diabetes.

At Sure Medical Care, Dr. Hertzel Sure and our team want to ensure that our patients with diabetes weather the holiday season with relative ease. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you manage your diabetes and enjoy yourself at the same time.

Understand the diet you’re facing

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or some other celebration, you likely know in advance what to expect when it comes to food. This means you can do a little homework before the holiday feasts to better understand which foods may cause spikes in your glucose levels.

For example, we all know that sugary delights should be limited, but much of the real danger for those with diabetes lies in carbohydrate-heavy foods. The carbs found in foods like white bread, processed grains, and white rice are broken down into sugar by your body.

Stay as close to a schedule as possible

Holiday feasts often fall outside of your usual eating hours (think of the late afternoon Thanksgiving meal), so try not to let the new schedule throw you off balance. If you can, plan around these odd times, while keeping as close to your normal schedule as possible.

One of the biggest no nos for people with diabetes is to skip a meal in anticipation of splurging later. This makes it very hard to manage your blood sugar levels and can lead to dangerous spikes.

Don’t arrive too hungry

A fantastic hack for anyone who’s trying to watch what they eat over the holidays is to eat a small snack before arriving. A handful of nuts or some carrots beforehand will take the edge off your hunger so that you don’t face the holiday table ravenous.

At the table

When you sit down to eat, grab the smallest plate available and start with the healthier foods first. Mixed in among the creamy casseroles and buttered breads are sure to be some vegetable dishes. Serve yourself up some of these foods first, and then make room for lean proteins, such as turkey.

After you’ve eaten these healthier foods, you’ll have less room for those foods that may increase your glucose levels.

Watch what you drink

Alcohol can cause glucose levels to rise and your willpower to fall. To avoid this, limit your alcohol intake, especially drinks like eggnog, which pack a wallop in terms of both alcohol and sugar.

Get out and exercise

It’s all too easy to sit and catch up with family, but you shouldn’t drop your exercise regimen. In fact, it’s more important than ever to keep moving during the holidays to keep your blood vessels in good health.

Reduce stress

The effects of stress on your body are hard to quantify, but they’re significant. We urge you to find ways to reduce stress (see our exercise tip above) so that your body and mind are as relaxed as possible. Aside from exercise, you can try yoga or deep breathing, and be sure to get enough sleep each night.

If you have more questions about managing your diabetes over the holidays, contact our office in Elmhurst, New York.

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