The holiday season is a very special time of year for millions of people all over the world: a time of giving gifts, spreading cheer, and of course, indulging in delectable holiday feasts. Traveling to be with loved ones is also common during this time of year.
This time of excitement and decadence is great fun for many, but it can present a difficult problem for diabetics. Diabetes should not, however, be an obstacle to your enjoyment of the holidays this year, or any year to come. With a bit of planning, you can make every holiday just as pleasurable without putting your health at risk.
The most important thing for diabetics to remember during the holidays is preparation. If you intend on traveling for the holidays, be sure to have everything planned as far as possible in advance. Make sure to pack more of your medications and supplies than you imagine needing, because it’s always better to over-prepare. Stay active during long flights by getting up frequently to move around. You will also need to be conscious of time zone changes so that you can stay on your regular medication schedule.
Attending dinner parties can still be highly enjoyable in spite of your health concerns. Be sure to ask your hosts about the kind of food that will be served so that you can plan ahead and figure out how these things work into your dietary plan. You know better than anyone else what foods you should and should not be eating, and while it is probably unrealistic to expect menus to be altered significantly, by knowing the offerings in advance you can plan out your own meal. You can also plan out your earlier meals of the day, considering what you’ll be eating at dinner.
You shouldn’t feel the need to forsake any of your favorite dishes, but be very conscious of portion size and avoid eating too much. Many holiday dinners include buffets with lots of food that is heavy in carbohydrates and saturated fats–unhealthy for anyone when eaten in excess, but particularly dangerous to diabetics. Look for lean meats and vegetable dishes that are not too heavy with cheese, butter, or salt. Stick to small portions of your “indulgence” foods and turn down seconds, as difficult as it may be to do so.
Avoiding alcohol and other calorie heavy drinks is usually a good idea for diabetics. You may not realize it right away, but beverages have the potential to really throw off your dietary balance. Limit yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks if your doctor deems it safe, and stick to things like tea and sparkling water otherwise. At dessert, move toward the fruit offerings, and away from the cakes and other sweets. You may also want to take an after dinner walk, and bring along your diabetic testing supplies to keep an eye on your blood sugar.
The holidays can be intimidating, especially for diabetics, but if you keep calm and remember how to live smart and healthy, you’ll be headed into the new year with a smile on your face. Remember these guidelines, and have a safe and happy holiday!