Holiday eating with Diabetes can be stressful and sometimes downright difficult. Holidays are an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. Keep in mind that holiday meals and traditions don’t have to disrupt your diabetes control. With a little preparation, you'll be ready to face any holiday head-on and still enjoy it.
It’s a party, but don't over do it. Eat slowly, and really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrate that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings.
Bring what you like. Try not to worry about what will be served. Offer to bring your favorite dish to share. If you count carbohydrates, check your recipe’s nutrition facts so you know how many carbohydrates are in one serving and the size of a serving.
Only drink in moderation. If you drink alcohol, remember to eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Whether it’s a glass of red wine or a beer, holiday drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your intake. Keep it to no more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men.
Remember to stay active. One reason that we have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity.
Holidays are special occasion, so if you’d like to enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert, you absolutely can. It is important to remember that most sweets have a lot of carbohydrate in a small portion so you’ll want to keep portion sizes small. You can work a sweet treat into your meal plan but substituting a small portion of dessert for other carbohydrate already in your meal plan.
Decide ahead of time what and how much you will eat and how to handle any peer pressure. Holiday eating with diabetes can be easy if you are already thinkning about what you are comfortable with. Share one portion of dessert with someone else, and scrape off any high-calorie whipped-cream topping or extra frosting. Volunteer to bring your favorite dessert to social functions. Some ideas are plain cookies, baked apples, or sugar-free puddings. If you decide to have a treat, remember to cut back on the other carbohydrate in your meal to help keep blood glucose levels on track.
Overindulged? Get Back on Track. If you eat more carbs or food than you planned for, don’t think you have failed. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you. Include extra exercise, monitor your blood glucose levels, and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day.