Manage Your Diabetes Over the Holidays: 6 Tips

woman trying not to eat chocolate cake

It’s tough enough to resist overeating, overdrinking or getting stressed out during the holiday season. It’s tougher if you’re dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes.

Andrea Dunn, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, has some suggestions to help you:

1. Stick to your schedule

Even on your holiday off days from work, try to get up, eat, exercise and take your diabetes and any other medications about the same time as you usually do.

2. Check your blood sugar frequently

If you are taking insulin or medications that lower your blood sugar, check your blood sugar more frequently during the holidays, especially before driving a car or adjusting your insulin doses. Make allowances for the changes in your work and exercise schedules as well as your eating opportunities.

3. Budget your sweets and treats

To keep your blood sugars from skyrocketing, include sweets and treats as part of your carbohydrate budget — not in addition to it. Choose the meat and side vegetables and salad at dinner to “save” carbohydrates for Aunt Emily’s nut roll that only gets made for the holidays.

4. Watch your alcohol intake

Moderate alcohol intake can have a blood sugar-lowering effect, so don’t drink on an empty stomach. Be sure to check your blood sugar more frequently after drinking. Recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men. (One drink equals 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of distilled spirits.)

5. Be ‘party-smart’

If you’re going to a holiday dinner, ask if you can bring a dish — one lower in calories and fat — such as a vegetable tray or vegetable-based appetizers. Also, if you’re attending an appetizer party, don’t go hungry. Take the edge off beforehand by eating a small snack, like a small apple and 2 tablespoons of nuts or whole grain bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.

At the party, enjoy some of the vegetable-based appetizers first, then the meat or cheese appetizers. Place your appetizers on your napkin instead of a plate and you’ll be less likely to overfill it. Another tip: don’t stand near the buffet table or food when talking at a party. Move to another part of the room so you won’t be tempted to over eat what is nearby. It’s also important to stay hydrated. Drink water or club soda with a lime or lemon twist. Keep a calorie-free drink in your hand to keep your hands busy.

6. Remember the reason for the season

Put the focus on family and friends and not on food. Enjoy what you do eat. Savor each bite! Most important, remember to include time for exercise, meals and relaxation. The holidays will only be great if you’re in good health to enjoy them.

  • Marry

    I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2014. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. On April 13th I found this book on
    w­j­e­5­9­2­.­com/Cure-Diabetes-Naturally.html . I read the book from end to end that night because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100, the next day was in the 90’s and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just one week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds in a month. I now work out twice a day and still have tons of energy. I have lost 6+ inches around my waist and I am off my high blood pressure medication too. I have about 20 more pounds to go till my body finds its ideal weight. The great news is, this is a lifestyle I can live with, it makes sense and it works. God Bless the writer. I wish the ADA would stop enabling consumers and tell them the truth. You can get off the drugs, you can help yourself, but you have to have a correct lifestyle and diet. No more processed foods.

    • Ez Acosta

      It pays to advocate for our own health. The standards of health in conventional medicine is atrocious. Im glad you found the path out of sickness. So much of this countries ills goes back to nutrition and clean living and food. The truth is out there.

  • Kimberly Ryan

    In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, placed on narcotic therapy, extremely active, petite, until three years ago. Cannot take Lyrica or gabapentin due to severe allergies and Cymbalta doesn’t help. I was taken off these medications because of all the studies contraindicated their effectiveness. Now I’m not on anything. I’ve gained almost 50 pounds, due to decreased activity, in severe pain, have increased neuropathy and muscle weakness, all of which are not being addressed. To add fuel to the fire, I had a brain aneurysm in 4/2000 which left me with traumatic brain injury, as well as, physical side effects. I’ve kept these to a minimum by staying physically fit and active. Because my health has deteriorated and by not being as physical, these side effects are becoming more apparent again. There is no one treating fibromyalgia in my area and I also live in NYS with the strict regulations of narcotics. I don’t fit the “normal” treatment for this diagnosis, nor do I have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, yet I cannot get help. It’s unfortunate that someone who goes from being highly active all their life, athletic, loves the outdoors, lives alone, owns their own house, used to be an RN, becomes someone who struggles to get through the day. It’s not right.