multi generational holiday mealHaving diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the cheer and family time the holidays brings. But the focus on food and eating during this season can certainly make the holidays tough to navigate.

Today, we want to share our top ten tips for managing diabetes this holiday season:

  1. Eat the right snacks. Keep a healthy snack, like an apple, with you at all times so that you won’t break down and overindulge in holiday sweets when you will be with people who are eating. Don’t let the  hunger pangs get to you! Before you head to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack so that you will be less likely eat too many calorie-rich foods at the party. If you know the host, ask if they plan to have a veggie platter or other healthy options.

  1. Watch your portions. Remember the mantra: everything in moderation. It’s fine to have a slice of pumpkin pie at your family get-together, or one of Santa’s cookies at Christmas. Keep your portions reasonable, and you won’t go overboard.
  1. Choose better beverages. It’s easy to ruin your eating plan with calorie-laden holiday beverages like eggnog and spiced cider. Stick to sparkling or still water, unsweetened tea, or diet beverages.
  1. Watch for holiday food traps. Certain foods we associate with the holidays are extremely high in fat and calories. Watch out for glazed ham, turkey smothered in gravy, and side dishes swimming in butter. Choose steamed vegetables and lean meats instead.
  1. Fill your plate with vegetables. Pile your plate real estate with colorful vegetables (just make sure they’re not cooked in butter). You’ll fill up on the healthy stuff and have less room for the meat-and-potatoes portion of the meal.
  1. Set aside time to exercise. Visiting the kids doesn’t mean you get a free pass on your exercise routine. Bring along your exercise clothes, and get in that workout. If you’re away from your gym, try going for a long walk or bike ride around your friends’ or relatives’ neighborhood.
  1. Watch your blood glucose. It’s easy to let the holidays set your schedule off-kilter, but it’s imperative that you continue to monitor your blood glucose with regularity. If you’re traveling across time zones, keep a second watch with you set to your home time until you can adjust to the new schedule.
  1. Be prepared. It’s always a good idea to bring extra diabetes supplies when you travel. Make sure you bring more than enough for your trip to account for unexpected delays. Pack supplies in your carry-on so that they won’t get lost or damaged. Always carry medical identification that indicates that you have diabetes.
  1. Sleep in. Holiday travel can wreak havoc on our immune systems. Make sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night to stay healthy.
  1. Refocus on family: Remember what the holidays are all about: the people you love. Go on walks with your kids, have a snowball fight with your grandkids, and enjoy each other’s company without always sitting at the dinner table.

For some great holiday recipes, look at our diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving recipes blog post.

Do you have any great tips for surviving the holidays with diabetes? Share them in the comments!

For more information, please review our Diabetes Resources.