Do’s and Don’ts for People with Diabetes during the Holidays

CuraLife is here to help you stay health so you can focus on what really matters – enjoying the holidays with your loved ones!

The winter holiday season is all about social celebration – spending time with friends and family, exchanging presents and enjoying great food and drinks. But for people with diabetes, resisting the urge to indulge in all the dishes and alcoholic beverages on offer at special events and family gatherings can be torturous enough to send you into deep hibernation until after New Year’s.  

This year, you don’t have to head for the hills or fear overeating yourself into a food coma. We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you effectively manage your diabetes during the holidays.

Do: Plan ahead

Heading to a holiday party at someone else’s house? Communicate your dietary requirements with your host and gauge whether the menu will be more carb, protein or veggie based, so you can plan your daily eating accordingly and allow for some indulgences during the holiday meal. Also a good idea, bring your own dish, something you like, that is filling and won’t use up your daily carb allowance. A chicken and vegetable stir-fry or raw veggie and Greek yogurt dip combo are fan favorites. Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re hosting, it’s a good idea to modify family favorite recipes so that they’re more diabetes-friendly.

Don’t: Skip meals

Holiday schedules can be busy, but keeping to your meal plan is a huge priority. If you’re going to be hitting the shops, pack a bag of vegetables and a stick of cheese. And even though you know food will abound at Christmas dinner – do not skip lunch in favor of working up an appetite. Doing so can place undue stress on your liver, causing more glucose to be released into your bloodstream and adversely impact your blood sugar levels. Some great “pre-gaming” snacks include: raw or cooked vegetables, a hard-boiled egg, dill pickles, unsweetened tea, sugar-free jello, cheese, hummus and a handful of nuts.

Do: Use the plate method to sample some holiday indulgences

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat, when looking to balance your diabetes. When sitting down for holiday meals, pick a few of your favorite dishes and use the “plate method” to portion it all out. Half your plate should be filled with non-starchy, low carbohydrate vegetables. Place a palm-sized piece of protein on one-quarter of your plate and a carb (or taste of a few carbs) on no more than the last fourth of your plate. This will enable you to sample a little of what you like, and still be able to pick two carb servings (milk, fruit or dessert) later on.

Don’t: Forget to drink water

Drinking water before sitting down to a holiday meal will help curb your appetite and your urge to indulge in sweets. It will also help you feel more satisfied from the carbs you do choose to eat. And if you do decide to drink something other than water, such as an alcoholic beverage, be sure to count it towards your daily carbohydrate allowance. Of course, if you have CuraLin in hand, enjoying a holiday toast or two will be much easier on your body.

Do: Stay active

It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday atmosphere of binge eating, drinking and lazing on the couch with your favorite televised specials and newly opened gifts. But it is imperative that you ensure physical activity is part of your holiday activities. Regular exercise can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and even help offset the effects of eating a large holiday meal. Enjoy quality time with your loved ones while staying active by organizing a family sports game, take a walk to check out the neighbor’s Christmas lights and Hanukkah candles, or have an all-out snowball fight. Anything that gets you moving and helps take the focus away from food.

Don’t: Party all night

Engaging in all-night partying is about as tempting as diving into that gingerbread house – but neither will leave you feeling fresh and balanced in the morning. Sleep loss can make it harder for you to control your blood sugar and leave you craving more high-fat, high-sugar foods. Here too, moderation is key. Go out, have some fun, and then return home for a solid 7-8 hours of nighttime sleep.