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Living with Diabetes

How to Celebrate the Holidays and Stay in Range at the Same Time

12/21/2021 by mySugr

How to Celebrate the Holidays and Stay in Range at the Same Time

While the holidays are all about family and festivities, there’s a whole lot of food that shows up at holiday gatherings. And we love to overindulge during the holidays, right? The downside is that all these delicious holiday foods, plus parties and travel can play havoc with your diabetes management routine.

So how can you stick to your meal plan and keep your blood sugar in range while still enjoying the holidays? It’s not always easy, but with a little planning it’s totally possible!

Keep on reading to discover our top tips on how to stay in range during the holiday season.

Tip #1 – Enter the Holidays with a Plan

Without a doubt, you’ll see plenty of tempting treats during the holidays. You can’t always control what foods might be served. The best thing you can do is enter the holidays with a good plan when it comes to making the right food choices.

  • Plan to eat as close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar levels steady. If meals will be served later than you normally eat, have a snack at the usual time and go with smaller portions at dinner.
  • Don’t try skipping meals to save up carbs and calories for the day. It’s hard to manage blood sugar when you skip meals. It’s also easier to overeat when you’re extra hungry.
  • If you get invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish you know you can enjoy.
  • Skip foods that you can eat anytime and choose to indulge in items that are special and seasonal.
  • Don’t forget to factor in time to check your blood sugar levels and take your medicines. Missing a dose will make it harder to stay in range.

Tip #2 – Know How to Deal with the Buffets

You’re likely to encounter a few buffets over the holidays. To make staying in range easier, here are a few tips for dealing with a buffet.

  • Start with the healthy stuff. Nibble on things like vegetable sticks first. They’re a healthy choice and will take the edge off your hunger.
  • Survey all the foods at the buffet before you make your choices. Then you can decide what you want overall instead of reaching for anything and everything.
  • Fill up most of your plate with healthy foods, then save a little room for other indulgences. 
  • Go with small portions of your favorites. You can always come back to the buffet.
  • Eat slowly. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that you’re full.

Tip #3 – Drink Responsibly and Cautiously

During the holidays, you’ll not only have to make careful food choices, you’ll also need to think about the drinks you choose.

  • Skip beverages with sugar. Go with flavored sparkling water, plain water, or another sugar-free option.
  • If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, choose non-mixed drinks like scotch on the rocks. Mixed drinks often use liqueurs that are packed with sugar. 
  • Be sure you eat if you’re having an alcoholic drink.
  • Remember alcohol can affect blood sugar levels for as long as 24 hours. Monitor your blood sugar closely after you have a drink.

Tip #4 – Make Some Holiday Recipe Modifications

Are you the one cooking during the holidays? Maybe you’ve been asked to bring a dish to a party? If so, you can adapt some of your favorite holiday recipes to make them healthier and more diabetes-friendly. Some of our favorites include:

  • If you want to lower your carb intake, mix in half mashed cauliflower with mashed potatoes. 
  • Bake using sugar substitutes.
  • Try whole-grain crusts instead of pastry crusts for pies or desserts.

Tip #5 – Take Some Small Steps to Holiday Success

Keeping your blood sugar in range is all about taking small but consistent steps during the holidays. Bear the following tips in mind to keep that blood sugar at bay during the holidays:

  • Budget carbs for sweet treats. If you’re going to have dessert – and we know you want to – try to lower your carb intake during your meal.
  • Take a walk after you eat. Even a 20-minute walk after a big holiday meal can go a long way towards helping you manage your blood sugar and stay in range.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep to compensate for your disrupted schedule during the holidays. A lack of sleep can make it tougher to manage blood sugar and make you more likely to choose high-sugar, high-fat foods.
  • There’s an app for that. Many mobile apps, such as mySugr, can make it easier for you to manage your diet and diabetes, and they’re especially helpful if you’re eating foods outside your normal routine during the holidays.
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