Navigating the Holidays
The hustle and bustle of the holidays is here, which often means the kickoff of events filled with baked goods and comfort food. Your calendar may already be filled with family, friend and work parties. With no shortage of food gatherings this time of year, it can leave you feeling stressed about options to eat and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. The suggestions below may help you better prepare and worry less once it’s time to celebrate!
Talk to the host
Check in with your host a week before the party to see what food will be served and the timing of the meal. It’s okay to share your desire to plan in advance for balanced meal options or timed medications for diabetes management, as they may offer to make accommodations. If it’s a potluck-style party, ask for a list of what guests will be bringing. If you know in advance that the holiday menu will be rather limited, offer to bring a dish or two to better round out your plate. If that isn’t possible then be choosy on what higher carbohydrate items you’ll try and pass on the rest.
A good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with well-balanced portions. This generally would look like:
- ½ plate non-starchy vegetables or fruit
- ¼ plate protein
- ¼ plate grains and starches
Since holidays often involve special desserts, be sweet smart. Enjoying a small portion of a special treat is ok for most people. Since the amount of refined carbohydrates is often higher in these items, remember that portion size is important. You could offer to split a portion with someone else or remove frostings or toppings to reduce calories. Accounting for a sweet treat as you select portions for your main meal can be helpful to keep in mind and make it easier to say no thanks to breads and starchy sides.
If you have Type 1 diabetes and need more precise control of portions for calculating insulin dosage, use a carb counting app or chart. Don’t forget to include the carbs you are drinking and be sure to alternate your drink of choice with some water to stay hydrated.
It’s tempting after a big meal to head right for the couch but try your hardest to resist that urge momentarily. Round up some friends or family and get out for a walk or play a game that involves activity. The exercise could help lower your sugar levels and kick that overly full feeling. Just make sure to call first dibs on the couch for when you get back!
Don’t skip meals
Just because you indulge in a larger-than-normal lunch doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to skip dinner. Skipping your next meal may cause you to overeat the following meal. Stick to your normal routine and consider a healthy, balanced meal for the next time you sit down to eat.
Choose activities that aren’t food-focused
You may choose to host a get-together of your own. If you do, choose an activity that isn’t based around a meal. Getting loved ones together can be as simple as hosting a present wrapping party, a holiday movie night or going out to see a musical performance or play.
Now you’re ready to sail through the holidays, enjoying it with loved ones and without worries.