Holidays and Diabetes
Allison Peckumn, DO is an endocrinology and diabetes specialist on staff at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. Her office can be reached at (602) 839-5895.
Question: How can I manage my diabetes without missing out on all the holiday festivities that revolve around food?
Answer: The abundance of carbohydrate and calorie-rich foods make the holidays tough for diabetics. But, with a few tips, you can still enjoy a fun and festive season.
The first step is to plan ahead. Before going to a party, decide how much you will eat and how you might deal with others who pressure you to eat more. You may need to have a snack or adjust the timing of your medication if you will be eating outside your regular meal schedule.
If you are cooking some of those carbohydrate and calorie-rich foods, try modifying your recipes with things like sugar substitutes to make them healthier, but just as tasty. Then, when the meal is served, be sure to watch your portion sizes.
Consider limiting yourself to one or two carbohydrate dishes and try keeping your carbohydrate intake similar to your normal eating habits. For example, you might pass up the rolls so you can enjoy sweet potatoes. Have a couple bites of several dishes if you simply cannot choose only one or two items, but keep in mind that you don’t have to eat everything.
Turkey is low in fat, high in protein and doesn’t contain carbohydrates. A serving is about the size of a deck of cards. Avoid frying the turkey as that adds extra fat.
Drink in moderation since alcohol and many holiday beverages pack a lot of calories, but be sure to eat before drinking to prevent low blood sugar levels. Women should not consume more than one alcoholic beverage per day and men should not have more than two.
We all have moments of weakness and overindulgence during the holidays. Remember to cut back on your eating the rest of the day, get some exercise and get back on track the next day.
The holidays are about spending time with friends and family, not just about food. Try adding new traditions that don’t involve eating such as going for walks, playing games or volunteering.
With a little planning, perseverance and physical activity you can enjoy a healthy holiday season.