SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It's not always easy to make healthy food choices during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Holidays are an opportunity to catch up with friends and family, but the focus on food and eating during the season can be tough; especially for families dealing with diabetes. Remember: holiday meals and traditions don't have to disrupt your diabetes control.
With a little preparation, Deborah Colby with the National Diabetes Research Center says people can face any holiday head-on with the following tips:
Focus on Friends and Family
Remember, the holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with your loved ones. Focus on friends and family, not food. Play games, volunteer, or spend time outdoors enjoying the weather together.
It's a Party, But Don't Overdo It
Eat slowly, and really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrate that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course.
Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings.
Bring What You Like
Try not to worry about what will be served. Offer to bring your favorite dish to share. If you count carbohydrates, check your recipe's nutrition facts so you know how many carbohydrates are in one serving and the size of a serving.
Drink in Moderation
If you drink alcohol, remember to eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Whether it's a glass of red wine or a beer, holiday drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your holiday intake. Keep it to no more than one drink for women, and two drinks for men. Avoid drinks that have high calorie mixers like regular soda, tonic, juice or margarita mix that are all packed with carbohydrate and calories. Instead, opt for sugar-free mixes.
One reason that we have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time into each day for exercise and don't break your routine. Off from work or school? Use the extra time to do some physical activity. Train for and participate in a local holiday run or walk (like a turkey trot or Independence Day run). Start a game of pick-up football, soccer, basketball or play other games in the yard. Go for a walk with your loved ones after eating. Offer to help clean up after a meal to get you moving around!
Overindulged? Get Back on Track
If you eat more carbs or food than you planned for, don't think you have failed. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you.
Include extra exercise, monitor your blood glucose levels, and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day.