Release Date: 12/15/2010
How to handle the holidays with diabetes
Visions of sugarplums may be dancing in your head, but you know they are never going to cross your lips. Ditto the creamy chocolate fudge and the buttery sugar cookies. The holidays, with all of their goodie-laden buffet tables and rich, calorie-laden desserts, are starting to fill you with dread. You have diabetes.
There is no cause for alarm millions of Americans with diabetes can still enjoy festive eating with good nutrition throughout the holidays. The main ingredient for healthy holiday eating is planning. While the holidays present many temptations for everyone, people with diabetes have more to risk than just gaining a few pounds. With some advance planning, you can enjoy the festivities without giving up on good self-care.
Diabetes hinders the way the body uses food for energy either the pancreas doesnt produce insulin, or the body cant use it effectively. Since a meal plan for diabetes is carefully structured, careless snacking or missed meals can be potentially dangerous.
To satisfy your holiday cravings, try using traditional recipes that have been modified to be low in sugar and fat. The American Diabetes Association offers a variety of such recipes and meal plans on their Web site www.diabetes.org.
The following tips can help people with diabetes maintain good control of blood sugar levels during the holiday season and all year long:
- Plan ahead. Try sugar-free recipes throughout the year. Incorporate a few low-fat, low-calorie items into each holiday meal you prepare. If you are a guest, offer to bring a dish that works with your meal plan others will enjoy the healthy option.
- Dont come hungry. Dont skip meals this is especially harmful if you take medication or insulin to control your diabetes.
- Look over the buffet table before filling your plate. Decide on one or two must haves, or just serve yourself a taste of the different foods; fill the rest of your plate with low-calorie vegetables. Be mindful of the portion sizes small servings of most foods usually can be worked into a diabetic meal plan. If in doubt, ask your dietitian.
- Be careful of party snacks and hor doeuvres. Small amounts of nuts, dips and cheese can quickly furnish high-fat calories. Use fresh vegetables as appetizers.
- Choose non-alcoholic, sugar-free beverages.
- Focus on the event and the people instead of the food.
- Dont let the holidays take priority over exercise, which is a key to maintaining blood sugar control. Round up friends and relatives for a brisk post-meal walk.
- Take your medications on time.
St. Anthonys Medical Centers Outpatient Diabetes and Nutrition Services can serve as your resource, providing assistance in recipe modification and helping in all areas of nutrition and diabetes self-care. Individual and one-on-one appointments and group classes are available. Staff members will work with your health care provider to coordinate your care. An ongoing free support group is offered throughout the year. Call 314-525-4508 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
You also can sign up for our quarterly e-newsletter to receive information on classes and events, including hot topics in diabetes and nutrition.Enter your information and check the box for Diabetes Education Program.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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