Enjoy the celebration season when living with diabetes
Preparation is key for diabetics when celebrating festivities.
Traditional holiday food and festivities can make it harder to manage your diabetes. But with a little preparation, you can enjoy your favorite holiday celebrations in a healthy way!
To eat healthy without feeling deprived at your next gathering, Michigan State University Extension recommends the following tips:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests eating regular meals when traveling. Skipping meals can make it harder to manage your blood sugar. Pack water and snacks, such as raw vegetables, fruit or low-fat string cheese.
- The American Association of Diabetes Educators encourages you to decide on the foods you want to try before filling your plate. Take only small portions of high calorie, high fat foods, such as appetizers or desserts. Choose healthier selections such as grilled or roasted meat over fried and oil-based salad dressings, or mustard instead of mayonnaise.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink zero calorie or low calorie drinks. Water is best. Limit your alcohol. Drink only with a meal and no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.
- Use the Diabetes Plate Method to keep from overeating. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce, beans or carrots; one-quarter of your plate with lean protein, such as grilled chicken or fish; and one-quarter of your plate with a starchy food, such as peas or potatoes.
- Take your favorite dish-to-pass to your next gathering. You will have something you can eat, and it helps your host!
Make time for exercise during the holiday season:
- Plan outdoor activities. Take a walk in a local park, visit a sledding hill, or play a game of touch football with the kids.
- Perform an activity after eating like taking a walk or helping clean up.
- Wear clothing that allows sweat to evaporate so your body temperature can be more easily regulated.
- Check blood sugar levels regularly and more often if you are not feeling well, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic.
Keep your diabetes medications safe and ready to use:
- The CDC recommend people with Type 1 or 2 diabetes, who are over six months of age should get a flu shot.
- The Joslin Diabetes Center recommends that you store your meter, strips and insulin in a cool, dry place. Do not store them in the freezer, direct sunlight or car. Check your insulin for signs of improper storage, such as cloudiness, clumps or “frosting” on the vial. Use a cold pack inside the pouch to protect insulin. Cover the pump with a towel to protect it from direct sunlight.
When your food, drink, exercise, and medications are in balance, you stay healthy and can enjoy your favorite holiday celebrations. Maintaining this balance takes a little extra effort when you have diabetes, but it is worth it!