We all have our favorite holiday activities. It might be watching fireworks on the 4th of July, heading to the beach for Labor Day, as summer winds down, or finding the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween. For many of us, it’s the non-stop activities that seem to begin with the Macy’s Day Parade, early Thanksgiving morning, and continue through the last bowl game on New Year’s Day. But, no matter what holiday or activity tops your list, you can bet that it involves not only extreme amounts of food and drink but the kind designed to send blood sugar levels through the roof.
Let’s face it: being able to maintain your blood sugar during the holidays is tough for anyone. For those with diabetes, it is not only hard, but extremely important. Pretty much every food item associated with a holiday is either loaded with sugar or carbohydrates. And, there are well-meaning friends and relatives around every corner with “a little won’t hurt” on the tip of their tongues and a cookie or piece of pie in their hands. This isn’t about having a beautifully contoured body, it’s about making sure your insides are healthy.
Tips to Maintain Blood Sugar Levels During the Holidays
What can you do? Becoming antisocial and avoiding all holiday activities may seem the easiest but not really a good long-term solution. Instead, there are ways to maintain your blood sugar levels and even manage to enjoy the holidays. Some of these tips include:
- Try to keep your meal-time schedule as close to normal as possible to keep your blood sugar steady. When that is not possible, add a snack and then cut back at the next meal.
- Make your contribution to the party a healthy one.
- Swap a sweet treat for carbs, like potatoes and bread, during the meal.
- Avoid the temptation to skip meals to save up for a feast. It will make it harder to keep your blood sugar in control. Plus, you will be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
- Beware the buffet! Select small portions of your favorites and then move away from the buffet table.
- The age-old advice of starting with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite really does work.
- Eat slowly. Not only will you feel full before overeating, but you will also enjoy it more.
- If you cannot or do not choose to avoid alcohol, limit it and have it with food. Alcohol tends to lower blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medicines.
- Make sure you eat at least some of your favorite foods. Just do so in moderation and with awareness.
- If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up, just get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
- Try to get at least as much, if not more, than your regular amount of exercise.
- Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, so getting a full seven or eight hours is even more important during the holidays.
Last, but certainly not least, remember that holidays are about celebrating and connecting with the special people in your life. Focus on that to help shift your attention away from all of that food!