Living with Diabetes: Five Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season
December 1, 2022
Navigating all of the great things that come with the holidays can be difficult, especially if you have diabetes, and particularly if you suffer from a chronic wound. It's important to understand the impact holiday traditions can have on your health and healing process. From eating mindfully to following your treatment protocols, here are five helpful holiday tips for diabetics:
- Be proactive! You may not be able to control what food will be served but you can control what you consume. Have a plan in place before the gathering:
- Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, have a snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
- Invited to a party? Bring a healthy dish.
- If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
- Don’t skip meals all day to save up for an evening feast. It will be harder to manage your blood sugar and your hunger may result in overeating.
- If you fall off track, don’t kick yourself. Get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
- Outsmart the buffet. When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:
- Take small servings of the foods you like best and add vegetables. Then move away from the buffet table.
- Drink water 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 can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medications.
- It’s the holidays - don’t ignore favorites! No food is on the naughty list but it’s important to be mindful if you choose to indulge. Slow down and savor a small serving and make sure to count it in your meal plan. If you plan ahead and control portions, no food needs to be off limits.
- Keep Moving! Being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and it also lowers stress. Plan a fun activity with friends and family after a holiday meal, such as taking a walk or hike.
- Get Your ZZZs. Going out and staying up late often results in a lack of sleep, which can make it harder to manage your blood sugar. If you’re sleep deprived, you may tend to eat more high-fat, high-sugar foods. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating and watch the alcohol...it can disrupt your sleep.
Bonus Tip for Wound Care Patients: If you have diabetes and are in treatment for a non-healing wound, be sure to keep your regularly scheduled appointments and follow dietary recommendations. It’s very important to continue treatment throughout the holiday season.
Most important of all, remember what the season is about: celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food. For more tips from the CDC on living with diabetes, visit Living With Diabetes | CDC.
If you have questions or would like more information on diabetes and wound care, contact the Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbarics at 580-531-6441.