It is unfortunate that every holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, Valentines Day) are all celebrated with an excess of candy, or calorie dense foods. This is particularly challenging for diabetics.
Below are the list of tips I came up with when asked to contribute to our health coaches news letter at the Moss clinic.
- Make your celebration centered on getting together with people you love. Doing something active with them like going for a walk rather than it just being all about the eating.
- When you do eat, note that it is foods with a high glycemic index that will be a problem – i.e. foods that will raise your blood glucose rapidly – mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bread (especially white bread), cranberry sauce, and all those deserts, cakes, pastries, cookies and sweets.
- You don’t have to completely deprive yourself, but just eat a little, and fill up on green vegetables and meat.
- For diabetics, especially those on insulin, be careful if your holiday meal is later than your usual meal time. Your blood sugar may get dangerously low, and you may need a snack. But also if you get very hungry it encourages loss of control of your eating.
- Our bodies are conditioned to feel a need to eat more, and especially crave something sweet, at the end of the meal when your bodies own insulin is being secreted. If you wait 15 minutes, these cravings will quiet down and you will feel more sated. So, take a break before second helpings or desert.
- Alcohol is a common part of the celebration. But remember it not only provides quite a lot of calories itself, but it stimulates your appetite.
- Finally, many communities have some kind of walk or run. So sign up for the Turkey Trot or whatever and burn off some of those extra calories – and the healthy feeling you get from exercising will help you be more in control of your eating.
These tips are intended for diabetics. But they apply just as well to anyone who wants to be a bit guarded about their eating - or overeating - over the holidays.