Workday Strategies For Eating Well Through The Holiday Season

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming in rapid succession our workplaces are often inundated with trays of tempting treats.

We also tend to be extra busy during the holiday season and more apt to reach for quick sources of energy, such as peanut butter cups, a piece of pie, or cookies. Even if we don’t celebrate certain observances, the treats are available, and attractive.

Unfortunately, with diabetes the damaging consequences of high blood sugar are cumulative. They accrue without regard for our determination to get back on a healthy diet track next January. That’s why it’s vital - for longterm well being - to indulge in some seasonal fare while maintaining good overall glucose control.

Workday Strategies

To help create, or preserve wise dietary habits here are a few ideas for eating well on busy workdays. They naturally apply to any workday throughout the year, but may be especially helpful during the holiday months:

    Breakfast. Make a habit of eating breakfast. Although with diabetes it’s important to watch our carbohydrate intake, the body still needs nutritional sources of calories to function well. This is especially true in the morning since we’ve been fasting for several hours.

    Eating breakfast may also affect our daily blood sugar levels. A study published in a 2015 issue of Diabetes Care determined that fasting until noon leads to higher glucose levels after lunch and dinner. This was associated with higher A1C readings in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Snacks. Having tasty, satisfying snacks stashed in our day bag, or a desk drawer makes it easier to resist party leftovers beckoning from the office break room.

    A quarter cup of mixed nuts, for instance, is a delicious treat, and the healthy fats and protein in nuts help us feel satisfied. Crackers made with whole grains are good stand alone snacks, and go well with a bit of cheese or hummus. We might also put one-cup servings of popcorn sprinkled with parmesan in snack bags—easy to carry or keep at work.

    Lunch. It’s wise to enjoy a nourishing lunch away from our desk, or workstation. Both the body and mind need refreshment, and we digest food better when we’re more relaxed. Plus, it’s important to periodically get up and move around if we have a sedentary job.

    We can also make a point of finding and frequenting nearby restaurants that serve healthier lunch options. If they’re within walking distance even better—we’ll get an energizing meal and some exercise as well.

    By taking a break, and eating nutritious food we are more likely to be productive through the afternoon, and less likely to rely on sugary edibles for an energy boost.

    Dinner. With a little planning we can treat ourselves to home cooked meals at least a couple nights each week. There are plenty of easy to prepare recipes available in cookbooks and online, or we might try a grocery delivery service such as Hello Fresh.

    Home cooked meals are typically more nutritious than processed, packaged, and fast foods, and preparing them gives us control over what types of oils are used, and how much salt or sweetener is added. We can choose whole grains over refined and be picky about the sources of our meat and dairy products.

    We can also save time, when cooking from scratch, by doubling the recipe. We'll have delicious leftovers to enjoy another night, or pack for tomorrow’s lunch.

Just adopting one or two of these strategies may be helpful, and eating well daily allows us to indulge in some seasonal goodies without losing sight of our glucose goals. Then, we can savor both our favorite treats, and our efforts to stay well.

Sources: Mayo Clinic; Amy Krasner/Chopra
Photo credt: Kim Gunnarsson

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