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Diabetes: Dealing With Holidays

Source: National Diabetes Education Program.

The Challenge

Holidays can be filled with food temptations. Busy schedules make it hard to work in regular exercise and healthy meals. But don't despair. With a little planning, you can enjoy the holidays.

What You Can Do Ahead of Time

  •  Know your diabetic meal plan. Then you will know what and how much to eat when you are dining away from home. 
  •  Prepare, portion, and freeze ahead of time meals that are lower in sugar, fat and sodium. Then you can reheat them quickly when you are very busy. 
  •  Schedule your exercise before you schedule holiday activities. Be flexible, but if you don't plan exercise time, it won't happen. 
  •  For your own party, choose foods that fit your meal plan. Go to the library or bookstore, and get diabetes cookbooks and magazines that feature healthy holiday recipes. 
  •  Focus on one or two diabetic self-management goals during the holidays. No one is perfect, but you can stick to one or two habits that are good for you.

What to Do When the Season Arrives

  • Have active parties. Plan parties around caroling, house decorating, holiday card making, or walks to see neighborhood decorations. 
  •  If you are invited to a party, call ahead for the menu. Offer to bring a dish that you can enjoy without guilt. 
  •  At the buffet table, survey the offerings before you dig in. Only put on your plate what you really want. Use a small plate, and leave plenty of space around your portions. Then sit down away from the buffet table. Don't go back for seconds.
  •  Never drink alcohol without your doctor's permission. Insulin and some diabetes pills do not mix well with alcohol. Never have more than one or two drinks. A serving of alcohol is 1½ ounces of distilled liquor, 12 ounces of light beer, or 4 ounces of dry wine.

General Guidelines for Healthy Eating

  •  Roasted white meat of poultry and boiled, baked, broiled, or grilled fish or seafood are lower in fat and calories than beef or pork. If you do eat red meat, choose leaner cuts. 
  •  Raw, steamed, grilled, stewed, or baked vegetables are lower in fat and calories than vegetable casseroles or salads made with mayonnaise. Skip the gravy and sauces, or use only a little. 
  •  A small portion of a yeast bread or roll tends to be lower in fat and calories than quick breads like biscuits, cornbread, or nut breads. 
  •  Watch the fats you add. One teaspoon of regular margarine or butter can add 45 calories.
  •  Fruit from a fruit basket is the best dessert. If you must have a regular dessert, have a very small portion. 
  •  Coffee and unsweetened tea are free foods.

Questions to Ask

1. What diabetes self-management goal will I focus on during the holidays?
2. What nutritious recipes can I fix ahead, so that I can eat well while I am busy?
3. How can I get more exercise during the holidays?


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Copyright Act Notice                       

*Many of the statements on this web site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or other government, research or academic body; any that were are so marked. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diabetes or any disease. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Not intended to diagnose or prescribe for medical or psychological conditions nor to claim to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure such conditions. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Any products advertised are from third parties. You should read carefully all product packaging. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program. Do not discontinue the use of prescription medication without the approval of your physician.

**Results not typical; your results may vary.

***Recipes provided usually include nutritional information and diabetic exchanges. Not all recipes are appropriate for all people. Please make sure a recipe is appropriate for your meal plan and pay careful attention to serving sizes. User is solely responsible for their use of any content provided.