Post written by Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Diabetes Clinic
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The following are tips to navigate the holiday season. They can be helpful whether or not you have diabetes!
- Concentrate on the things you love and enjoy about the holiday season that don’t have to do with food!
- Plan ahead for parties and special occasions. Bring an appetizer of veggies and dip, or a side dish that is mainly protein such as a meat or cheese platter. Remember it is high carbohydrate foods that raise your blood sugars.
- Keep the carbohydrate count in mind. Some foods may appear healthy – but are they? If they are heavily breaded or have a sweet dressing or sauce…you may find your blood sugars climbing.
- If you like to cook, challenge yourself to find new recipes that are lower in carbs but still delicious that you can bring to a special event. Those recipes are out there!
- Don’t skip meals so you can indulge later. Having consistent meals helps you have consistent blood sugars. Skipping meals can cause dangerously low blood sugars if you are on medication. Also – skipping meals can make you “hangry” and then it is often harder to make good choices when presented with food options later on!
- Check your blood sugars often. This will help you learn how certain foods affect your blood sugar. If possible, invest in a continuous glucose monitor as it will give you instant and continuous blood glucose results without having to prick your finger.
- Focus on “harm reduction”. This is another term for “moderation”. If you must taste Aunt Sarah’s fresh-baked Christmas cookie, settle for half of the cookie or even just a quarter. Eat it slowly and enjoy it.
- Be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. When we are celebrating it is often easy to eat mindlessly without realizing how much we are taking in!
- Limit alcohol. As you know alcohol has carbohydrates, and too much alcohol may make us forget to follow the above suggestions! Again, find substitute beverages you enjoy and drink alcohol in very limited amounts.
- Count your blessings! When you are feeling deprived – think of the things you are enjoying that you can be thankful for.