Managing your blood sugar levels throughout the year is a normal part of everyday life for people with diabetes. However, sustaining this feat is usually challenging during holidays or festivities. According to research, glycemia and lipid content spike 31 days after Christmas compared to the mean of the other part of the year.
In this article, we share with you some useful tips to stay on top of your diabetes management and sustain a healthy and guilt-free holiday season.
Why is the Holiday Season so Challenging?
Families and friends host many events with various delicacies rich in carbohydrates, sodium, and sugary content during the winter months. The plethora of treats doesn’t help; it gratifies temptation and makes even the healthiest eaters vulnerable. Thus, not compromising your health status for holidays becomes a priority.
We understand how difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight or not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels during this period. Fortunately, you can avoid these situations without withholding your holiday favourites and even laying your hand on untried dishes. If you are looking for a seamless way to manage your diabetes during the holiday season consider checking out our diabetes management app.
How to Navigate Such Events?
Stress is unavoidable during the festive season, all of the gift shopping, meal prepping, event planning, and traveling (especially from Christmas to New Year) can cause a lot of stress for people with chronic conditions. It’s important to remember that avoiding a dramatic shift in your blood sugar level starts with self-determination and conscious planning.
There are many ways to enjoy food-filled festival occasions without aggravating your health issues. But before that, are you ready to take preventive measures? If your answer is yes, let’s walk you through the three survival tips to manage diabetes during the holiday.
1. Plan to keep your blood sugar levels in check
A goal without a plan is just a wish. If you want to manage your blood glucose levels during the festive period, you must consciously come up with a plan. It will ease your anxiety and stress levels, and let you enjoy the festivities better. More so, it resolves and hardens your heart before the season’s warnings, helping you to stay on track.
Knowing that you have little to no information about the amount of sodium, sugar, and fat ingredients in the Christmas dinner menu, you need to be cautious. Try out Diabetes:M’s Recipe Analyser feature to learn more about the nutritional value of homecooked meals and their effect on your blood sugar.
You also don’t want to over-limit yourself with your food consumption. Having your eating schedule helps you navigate the whole festive period. And in case you bump into a get-together, all you need to do is to align your serving to match your regular eating schedule to avoid complications.
2. Don’t skip a meal
It would be best if you don’t do this. It’s common for people with diabetes to not eat much during the day in the name of having an abundant festive meal later. Leaving out food will surely make you hungrier as time goes by – but do you know the consequence of overeating? Skipping meals can drop your blood sugar level too low, and overeating can drastically spike it up. You don’t need to miss meals to aid large food consumption – it would backfire.
3. Be wary of the holiday drinks
There are certain foods and drinks that a person with diabetes should avoid. Although some alcohol has a lot of carbohydrates (beer, liquors, digestives, etc.), there are some safe options such as vodka, whisky, or rum. However, with spirited drinks, it is recommended to have a moderate intake. Moreover, studies show that two drinks of alcohol in a one-day are allowed for men and one drink if you are a woman. Also, it would be best if you didn’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach, and it’s advisable to sip it with food.
4. Be physically active
Food shouldn’t be the core of attention during holidays; involve yourself in some sports. Exercise affects blood sugar levels to some extent, where in most cases it drops, so you need to balance meal consumption with it. However, different types of exercise (intensity and duration) will result in glucose levels fluctuating so be wary and keep a close eye on them. Regardless, physical movement will reduce your liability for cramps and severe foot problems, which are typically common for people with troubled blood sugar levels.
How to Host Events for Family Members with Diabetes
If you are welcoming a PWD as your guest, there are ways to make the occasion memorable for everyone without aggravating their condition.
Events revolve around food consumption – barbecues, sweet potatoes, chocolate truffles, and other fat-rich delicacies. Therefore, as a host who understands how those foods will affect your relatives with diabetes, you need to think about offering them an alternative. Such are low-fat, no-carbohydrate, and sodium-free foods like fresh veggies, mixed salads, and roasted lean meats, as well as some sugar-free options. Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and calories, which are a good alternative for the festive dinner table.
It’s also a good idea to speak with your guest beforehand to accommodate their needs. Inform yourself if there are any foods they don’t eat, and overall, how your event can be as inclusive as possible for their condition.
Put Your Health in Check with the Diabetes:M App
It can be overwhelming to see others dine and wine while you keep watching what you eat. However, you don’t have to go through all of this alone. Our diabetes management app helps you monitor your diet and track your blood sugar levels intake while you focus on enjoying the holiday season with your loved ones. Download the app today and have your diabetes under control!
Dolapo Adepoju is a researcher with a keen interest in genetic disorders’ epidemiology. He enjoys creating awareness for health conditions through research and academic writing. He’s currently is a post-graduate student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, with a special interest in Genetics.
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