10 Tips to help manage Diabetes during the festive season

10 Tips to Help Manage
Diabetes During
the Festive Season

Enjoy the festivities and manage your HbA1C levels with these easy tips and tricks.

If you have diabetes, managing your HbA1C levels is always top of mind. During the festive season however, when mithais and indulgent dishes beckon at every turn, it can be even more of a challenge to stick to your meal plan and keep your blood sugar levels steady.

"It can be difficult to maintain a healthy meal plan when holiday get-togethers are often centered around foods we wouldn’t always consider eating," says Purvi Varma, a registered dietitian for Abbott. "The good news is that although you should be mindful of what you eat, the right planning can help you make healthier choices while still enjoying this time with family and friends."

Here are some simple planning strategies and nutrition swaps, so you can enjoy the festivities and stay on track.

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1. Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Before you get to any event, have a plan in place for what you will eat. For example, if you know that there will only be snacks, plan to select those that are lower in calories and won’t spike your blood sugar, such as vegetables and lean proteins. Be cautious of dips or sauces that can add hidden calories, salt or sugar.

You can also plan ahead by looking at online restaurant menus to plan your meal ahead of time. If the event is at a house, ask the host what he or she is planning to serve, and offer to bring your own healthy dish that complements the meal.

2. Don’t Skip Meals

Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping a meal can negatively impact your blood glucose level, Varma says. If the holiday schedule has you busy, keep diabetes friendly options close like Ensure Diabetes Care. Made by Abbott, Ensure Diabetes Care has blends of carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed to help minimize blood sugar spikes. With fewer than 230 calories per serve it’s a smart and portion controlled choice.

3. Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated and drinking water is important for our overall health and well-being, but new research shows it may also help with the calories we consume. Using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, researchers1 found that drinking more water is associated with eating fewer calories, as well as less sugar, salt and cholesterol.While more controlled research on this topic should be done to confirm this finding, choosing water may be helpful to limit other sugar-sweetened drinks that may be tempting.

4.Be Smart About Carbs

Foods rich in carbohydrates

Foods rich in carbohydrates can provide a lot of good nutrients for us. Yet compared with fats and protein, carbs have the biggest impact on blood sugar. This is why it’s important to choose your carbs wisely, and go with low glycemic foods – carbohydrates that are slowly digested and don’t impact your blood sugar levels.

In contrast, foods with a high glycemic index and glycemic load are digested rapidly and cause spikes in blood sugar. Limit refined and processed carbohydrates and choose fiber-rich whole foods such as apples, carrots, beans and Oats.

5. Pay Attention to Portions

Pay Attention to Portions of Food

It’s not just what you eat, it’s how much when looking to control your blood glucose. Some simple guidelines for estimated portions:

  • One cup = a fist
  • 100g = palm of your hand
  • 1tablespoon=thumb

6. Lighten Up

Healthy recipe

Most traditional holiday recipes can be made healthier with simple substitutions. Click here for for additional healthy recipe ideas.

7. Slow Down

Slow down your eating

Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach and let you know that you are “full”?

Research2 has shown that when meals are consumed slowly, people ate significantly fewer calories and consumed more water than those who ate fast. To help slow down your eating – try to chew slowly, place your utensil down or take a sip of water between bites.

8. You Can Have Dessert, but…

Modak

If dessert really matters to you, then plan ahead for it. Eat fewer carbs throughout the day, so you can enjoy a mithai. Remember to be mindful of portion sizes and skip the extra add ons.

9.Move

Walk after your meal

Although many holiday traditions revolve around meal time, consider adding a more physical activity into your holiday traditions. Perhaps go for a family walk after your meal.

10. Get Back on Track

Get Back on Track

Lastly, if a food setback happens, don’t give up. "A lot of us can tend to overindulge despite our best efforts," Varma says. "Instead of feeling guilt about it, acknowledge your feelings and focus on getting back on track at your next meal"

Despite the business of the season and tempting goodies around every corner, it is possible to enjoy the holidays and stay on track. Just make a plan… and then be merry!

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