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By now Thanksgiving is a distant memory and hopefully you’ve recovered from your dietary indiscretions and over indulgences. But Christmas is right around the corner, filled with more rich hors d’oeuvres and temptation.
Managing diabetes can be especially challenging during the holiday season. There are so many more opportunities for you to overindulge.
The following 10 tips are designed to help you get through the holiday season sensibly – without deprivation or guilt. Most of all, with your blood glucose (sugar) in good control.
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1. Enjoy traditional holiday foods: Depriving yourself of special foods or feeling guilty when you enjoy them isn’t part of a healthy eating strategy. Forget the “all or nothing” mindset and enjoy small portions of your favorite holiday foods. Just be mindful of the carbohydrate count.
2. Slow down and savor your food: Concentrate on eating slowly by putting your fork down between bites and savoring the taste and companionship during the meal. It takes at least 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. End result – eating slowly will help you stop eating before you feel bloated and stuffed.
3. Be selective: Choose to explore new taste and flavors. Don’t waste calories and carbohydrate on everyday foods, like mashed potatoes or broccoli.
4. Plan ahead: If you are invited to a party, call ahead for the menu. Offer to bring a dish you can enjoy without guilt. Eat a small snack about 1 hour before you to the party so you don’t arrive too hungry. Schedule your exercise before you schedule other holiday activities. Be flexible and remember, if you don’t plan exercise time it won’t happen.
5. Step away from the appetizers: Upon arrival at the holiday party, place appetizers on a plate instead of picking on foods here and there. You’ll be less likely to overindulge! Then move away from the appetizers to avoid mindless eating.
6. Drink to your health: Instead of a second glass of eggnog for over 300 calories, try sparkling water, seltzer or diet soda. Coffee and unsweetened tea are calorie free. Champagne, wine and alcoholic drinks are high in calories and can cause unexpected low blood glucose levels.
7. Scan the buffet: Before you make your food choices scan the entire buffet. Choose small portions of food you really, really want. Use a small plate and leave plenty of space around your portions. Often just a taste will satisfy cravings.
8.Socialize: Remember to enjoy other aspects of the holidays, such as socialization with family and friends, the spirit of the season, exchanging gifts, and holiday decorations. After all socialization is calorie free!
9. Look your best: When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you’re less likely to seek comfort in food.
10. Burn it up and bring it down: Balance the food aspect of the party with games or other fun activities. Plug in the Wii for a game of tennis or take a walk after the meal. Invite family and friends to participate. Physical activity will burn those extra calories from the holiday meal and reduce high blood glucose levels, too.