Christmas is here and for many of those celebrating it that means a long weekend full of buffets, sweets and food-laden tables. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is encouraging folks to not think of it as temptation but rather as your opportunity to make healthy food choices — whether you're managing diabetes or eating healthily in general.
To that end, the ADA has some simple recommendations so you can enjoy delicious food during the holidays without going overboard. Believe us: it will help you get a great start to 2016 so those resolutions don't feel like impossible goals.
Here they are:
Eat slowly and really enjoy a few of the foods that are special to you this time of year. If you’re counting carbohydrates and calories as part of your diabetes management plan, think about devoting your carbs to what you like best — and skipping the rest. For example, if you want dessert, cut back on carbohydrate foods such as dinner rolls or stuffing and “spend” your calories and carbs on a small serving of pie. Remember moderation is key, so stick to small portions and skip seconds.
Offer to bring your favorite healthy dish to share. If you’re counting carbs, check your recipe’s nutrition facts so you know how many grams are in one serving as well as the proper serving size. At some gatherings, it’s best not to mention a dish is “healthy” and let the flavor speak for itself; or perhaps the folks at your gathering may appreciate a card that notes the nutrition facts.
Alcohol can add significant calories to your holiday intake and, if you use insulin or sulfonylureas, complicate keeping blood glucose levels in the safe range. Keep your alcohol consumption to no more than one drink if you’re a woman and two drinks if you’re a man. Avoid high-calorie mixed drinks that include sugary soda or juice. Opt for sugar-free mixers instead. For insulin and sulfonylurea users, it’s important to check blood glucose levels during and up to 24 hours after drinking alcohol and to treat any lows.
Think of physical activities during the holidays as a chance to spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Use your extra time away from work or school to exercise — or to participate in a local holiday walk or run. Start a game of pickup football with family in the yard or take a walk after eating.
If you eat more than you planned for, don’t think you’ve failed. Focus on enjoying the company of those around you. Then, the next day, get back on track by gifting yourself with healthy eating, regular exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels as directed, if that’s part of your diabetes care routine.
The holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with your loved ones, so remember to focus on your friends and family, not the food. Play games together, volunteer or spend time outdoors. Great memories don’t have to be made only at the dinner table.