The holidays can be difficult for those who have diabetes. However, according to Endocrinologist Diep Nguyen, MD it’s important for diabetics to be especially vigilant about their food choices during the holiday season.
“Balancing the food you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) will help you control your weight and can keep your blood glucose in the healthy range even during the holidays,”
There are two forms of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin and is generally diagnosed in children and young adults. Only 5% of all diabetics have type one.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body isn’t making enough insulin or isn’t using its insulin as efficiently as it could, due to genetics, lifestyle factors, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. It is most prevalent in people who are overweight, have a family history of the disease, are over the age of 45 and/or are non-Caucasians. This is the most common form of diabetes.
Because an unhealthy diet and obesity have been linked to type 2 diabetes, it’s important to be aware of your diet year round, regardless to whether you have the condition or not. This is especially true if you have other risk factors like a family history of diabetes. The good news is that you can still enjoy the holidays! Check out some of Dr. Nguyen’s tips below on how you can have a happy and healthy holiday season.
- Do not skip meals just because you are going to a holiday party later on in the day.
- The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated during the hustle and bustle will help you feel your best and will also help you not feel so hungry when you get to the table.
- Try healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods when cooking, example using less sugar in desserts.
- Only fill up 80% of your plate with healthy foods, and save the other 20 percent for dessert or treats.
- If you drink alcohol, remember to eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later and limit to 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men. Avoid drinks that have high calorie mixers like regular soda, tonic, juice or margarita mix that are all packed with carbohydrate and calories. Opt for sugar free mixes instead.
- 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. Last but not least remember to include extra exercise, monitor your blood glucose levels, and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day.