7 tips for healthy holiday eating when you have diabetes

November 23, 2021 | by Elizabeth Jones, RD, CDE
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Hams, yams, pies, potatoes. Holiday eating can easily throw off your diabetes meal plan. How can you eat healthy during the holiday season when you have diabetes?

It’s all about finding a balance — enjoying the holiday festivities while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Remember to check your blood sugar more often during the holidays, and bring plenty of extra supplies wherever you go.

Here are seven tips for healthy holiday eating when you have diabetes:

  1. Eat close to your usual times. This helps to keep your blood sugar steady. If your holiday meal will be served later than normal, choose a healthy snack around your usual mealtime.
  2. Don’t skip meals to save up for your holiday feast. When you have diabetes and skip a meal, it will be more difficult to manage your blood sugar and you’ll be more likely to overeat.

  3. Don’t put any foods on the “no” list. Fit it into your diabetes meal plan instead. Practice mindful eating, prioritize, slow down and savor a small portion of your favorites.
    • Skipping the mashed potatoes or dinner roll may save you room for a small portion of grandma’s homemade, once a year, stuffing.
    • Savor that cinnamon or vanilla nut flavored warm, unsweetened tea with or without a smaller portion of your favorite sweet treat after a meal.

  4. Offer to bring a healthy dish. Bring your own dish to a holiday party that you can substitute for a non-healthy option.
  5. Be smart about sweets. If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs during the meal.
  6. Get moving! It will help keep you in a healthy mindset and reduce stress—and it’s a great way to help you manage your blood sugar. After your holiday meal, go for a walk with your family.

  7. Get plenty of sleep. The more sleep deprived you are, the more you’ll choose high fat, high sugar foods and the more difficult it will be to manage your blood sugar levels.

With the help of a certified diabetes care and education specialist, you get an individualized plan of care and the support you need to achieve long-term success. To learn more, contact the Diabetes Learning Center in Elmhurst at 331-221-6440 or the Edward Diabetes Clinic at 630-527-3213.

Learn more about diabetes care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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