Managing the Season’s Tasty Temptations: Ten Tips

Just when you get your diabetes management on track (type 1 or 2), here comes the holiday season with all its delicious temptations.

These ten holiday tips from the Diabetes Research Institute will help you keep stress to a minimum, and your blood sugar under control without dampening holiday festivities.

Ten Tips for the Holiday Season

  1. No matter how fun or hectic things get, maintain your usual routine of glucose monitoring and insulin administration.
  2. Hold realistic expectations. Blood sugar fluctuations are likely to occur sometime during holiday celebrations. Do not waste energy berating yourself for highs or lows. Instead, put your energy into correcting the problem.
  3. With a bit of creative carb planning children and adults can enjoy treats during the holidays. Try to include candy and high carbohydrate foods within the established meal plan.
  4. Keep in mind that having holiday visitors - though they are welcome - is stressful, and stress impacts diabetes. Even children who are thrilled to have the grandparents around can experience the stress of schedule changes, increased social activity, or giving up their familiar bedroom for the visit duration.
  5. Many traditional holiday recipes can be made more diabetes friendly by reducing their sugar and fat content, using sugar substitutes such as stevia (a sweet herb), or adding additional flavorings such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla.
  6. Make a point of having extravagant feasts only on the actual holidays, and stick close to your usual meal plan between them.
  7. Eating extra food and being a holiday couch potato is an unhealthy mix. Balance increased food consumption with energetic activities that get kids and adults moving - make it a family affair.
  8. Find ways to celebrate the holidays that do not involve food. Plan a family hike, go skating, or to a hockey game, have a karaoke competition, create artwork, or enjoy the community theater’s rendition of The Christmas Carol.
  9. If you are traveling over the holidays prepare a checklist of the supplies you will need (e.g, monitoring and insulin supplies, medical alert identification, hypoglycemia kit). Also, if traveling to foreign soil, research available food choices and know key emergency care phrases in the local language.
  10. It’s especially difficult when children have diabetes to restrict access to the goodies of the season. The key is to focus on the things that feed our soul—spending time together and creating pleasurable memories.

Photo credit: Roy Niswanger

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