Managing diabetes during holiday season

Published 7:56 pm Saturday, December 10, 2016

Tis the Season for family, festivity, and food – lots of food, and having diabetes should not stop you from enjoying the holiday celebrations and travel.

Temptations are everywhere, but with some planning and a little work, you can stay healthy at home or on the road and enjoy holiday gatherings with family and friends.

Planning and preparation are the key. Know what you’ll be eating, how to enjoy a few traditional favorites while sticking with a healthy meal plan, and how to pack necessary supplies for your trip; which will allow you to celebrate and stay in control.

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Holiday – Proof You Plan:

• Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.

• If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.

• Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.

• If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

Outsmart the Buffet:

• Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.

• Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.

• Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.

• Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol may interact with diabetes medicines.

Stay on Top of Your Blood Sugar:

• Check it more often during the holidays.

• Make adjustments as needed; but check with your doctor first.

When Traveling:

• Pack twice the amount of diabetes supplies you expect to need, in case of travel delays.

• Keep snacks, glucose gel, or tablets with you in case your blood glucose drops.

• Make sure you keep your health insurance card and emergency phone numbers handy, including your doctor’s name and phone number.

• Carry medical identification that says you have diabetes.

• Keep time zone changes in mind so you’ll know when to take medication.

• If you use insulin, make sure you also pack a glucagon emergency kit.

• Keep your insulin cool by packing it in an insulated bag with refrigerated gel packs.

Get Your Rest and Sleep:

• Going out more and staying up later can leave to sleep loss, which can make it harder to control your blood sugar. Also when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and make poor choices.

• Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Most of all, remember what the season is about – celebrating and connecting with family and friends. Focus on the real reason for the season and focus less on the food.