The holiday season is here. For many people, that means family, fun, and food, and not necessarily in that order. If you have diabetes, you know how hard it can be to stick to a healthy eating plan when you’re surrounded by so many goodies.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, our team, including our board-certified family medicine physician, Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, understands the challenges you can face during the holidays.
Since November is American Diabetes Month®, we want to share some ways you can improve your blood sugar control through this festive time of year.
1. Stick with your plan
When it comes to managing blood sugar, consistency is key. We recommend trying to eat the same amount of food around the same time every day to keep your numbers in check.
We know not every day is perfect, especially during the holidays. But, sticking to your usual routine as best you can is a good place to start when trying to keep your blood sugar numbers within your normal range. In addition to your meals, try to stick with your usual workout schedule and sleep routine.
2. Don’t skip meals
Don’t skip meals. As tempting as it can be to “save room” for your holiday favorites, this tactic backfires in the end. Depending on what type of medication you take to manage your diabetes, skipping meals may cause your blood sugar levels to go too high or too low.
3. Make modifications to your holiday favorites
We all have our favorite holiday dishes and treats. Try modifying a holiday dish to make it healthier. For example, instead of making a traditional sweet potato casserole, make a dish with roasted vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, and add sweet potatoes.
Also, try to continue eating a balanced diet. And lastly, it's OK to enjoy some holiday favorites. Just give yourself small portions, eat slowly, and savor every bite.
4. Stay hydrated
Did you know that your blood sugar levels go up when you’re dehydrated? That’s because the less fluid there is, the more the blood sugar is concentrated. Additionally, having high blood sugar levels increases urination, so you can lose more water and become more dehydrated.
Keep your refillable water bottle with you at all times and continuously sip as needed to stay hydrated and in control. Good hydration can also help with hunger control.
Daily fluid needs can vary, depending on your age, activity level, and medical history. If you’re not sure how much water you need, schedule an appointment with our primary care provider for guidance.
5. Find time for exercise
It’s cold and you’re busy. We know. But physical activity is essential to living well with diabetes. Regular exercise can help keep blood sugar levels balanced, reduce stress, and boost mood. It can also help with weight control.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week.
One of the best things you can do to improve your blood sugar control through the holidays is to be kind to yourself. Yes, you may eat more than normal. Yes, you may skip a workout or two. But there’s no need to feel guilty about these little diversions. Instead, focus on how you can get back on track.
Are you worried about the upcoming holidays and how it might affect your diabetes? Let us help you plan things out. Book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.