Managing Diabetes During the Holidays
As pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and homemade cookies grace holiday tables this month, one thing is certain: it's the season for sweets. But if you have diabetes, you've probably been told to avoid eating sweets in order to keep your blood sugar low. In fact, all carbohydrates – not just desserts – can raise blood sugar.
With Thanksgiving so focused on the dinner table, it can be tough for people with diabetes to know what to eat or to simply enjoy the holiday. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track during this festive time of year.
- Decide ahead of time what you will eat and how much. If you are having dessert, try sharing it with another person. Also, be prepared to say no to second helpings or large serving sizes.
- Time your meal. You may have to "eat before you eat" in order to stay on track. Because many families will eat large meals at odd times, a snack at your normal meal time can prevent a low blood glucose reaction. Check with your doctor about this.
- Eat smaller portions. The high carbohydrate count in many Thanksgiving foods makes it hard to sample everything. Try having a reasonable portion of your favorite dishes and passing on the rest. The more dishes you want to try, the smaller the servings should be.
- Bring your own dish. The easiest way to know what you're eating is to make it yourself. Bring a low-sugar dessert like baked apples. Check your recipe's nutrition facts to help you count carbohydrates.
- Eat your vegetables. Steamed, non-starchy veggies are best. They are low in carbs and calories and will keep you from filling up on high-carb foods.
- Be physically active. Counteract the extra calories by getting some exercise. Even though the holidays are a busy time, make time to be active and stick with your routine.
For additional help managing your diabetes during the holidays, see a Certified Diabetes Educator.
Source: American Diabetes Association
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