The holiday season and its food, fun and festivities are in full swing. Unfortunately, the season often leaves some of us feeling a little more tightly packed into our jeans.
For people managing diabetes, the holiday minefield of extra calories and carbohydrates can be more hazardous than a few unwanted pounds, wreaking havoc on blood sugar levels and ruining plans to manage diet and exercise.
But the best offense is a good defense. The American Diabetes Association has tips about how to handle the challenges posed by holiday celebrations. Even if you don’t have diabetes, these suggestions can help you navigate the holidays without adding pounds.
•Friends and family trump food.
During holiday celebrations, keep the people around you front and center, and put the foods you love in second place. Take a walk outside, play board games or take time to reminisce about past holiday gatherings.
•Savor the feast.
Eat slowly and focus on all the pleasure offered by the foods you might eat only once a year. Also, look for a happy balance. Has pumpkin pie been filling your dreams? Go for a smaller portion of mashed potatoes. Try to keep portions reasonable, leaving plenty of room for a taste of everything.
•Speaking of moderation, go easy on the alcohol.
Whether it’s beer, wine or mixed drinks, alcohol adds a significant number of calories to a meal. Avoid cocktails made with high calorie mixers like juice, soda or regular tonic water.
The holidays keep everyone busy, but if you make it a point to schedule exercise into your daily routine, you’ll find it easier to stay on track. Make daily exercise a habit.
•Feed your own needs.
Bringing a dish to dinner? Make it one that works for you, like the delicious recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts and Sage. Unlike many winter squashes, the variety that mimics spaghetti is actually low in carbs. And with some easy and delicious seasonings, it’s sure please everyone at the table.
•Stay positive and stay on track.
If you eat more than planned, don’t fret. Stop eating for the night and focus on the people around you. Look for activities that will keep you moving — maybe offer to clean up the kitchen after dinner? Remember that every day during the holidays brings another challenge to your healthy plan, as well as another chance to get back on track.
Find more health tips and delicious recipes at www.diabetes.org.