Preparing for the upcoming holidays can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to watch your waistline. The holiday season can also be difficult for individuals who suffer from certain health conditions – for example, diabetes. If you happen to have your diabetes under control, then indulging in some holiday food shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you do not have your diabetes well managed and your blood sugar levels tend to be all over the map with large spikes or low drops, you will want to take extra precautions.
While the holidays are usually a time for people to stay home and relax as much as possible, it’s important for individuals with diabetes to stick to a routine. Family physician from Vancouver, Dr. Ali Ghahary, recommends getting up at the same time each morning, getting regular exercise, eating three well-balanced meals per day, and taking your medications at the same time.
It’s also important to check your blood sugar frequently. Given how easy it is to indulge in sweets and other foods we shouldn’t necessarily eat over the holidays, your blood sugar may not be at levels you’re used to, and if not careful it’s easy for blood sugar levels to get dangerously high. On the contrary, blood sugar levels can also decrease. This can happen as a result of taking certain mediations, skipping meals or eating less frequently, as well as getting too much exercise/overexertion. Depending on whether you have type I or type II diabetes, you may need to check your blood sugar levels as much as four to eight times per day. While it might seem like a nuisance to have to check your blood sugar levels so often, it can be a matter of life or death.
Drinking alcohol can also have a negative impact on your blood sugar levels. For those with diabetes, it is recommended that you avoid alcohol. However, if you do happen to want to indulge in an alcoholic beverage over the holiday season, Dr. Ali Ghahary suggests having no more than 1 or 2 drinks.
If you’ll be dining out this holiday season, many restaurants offer a wide range of healthy meal options – not only for those who are allergen-sensitive or prefer gluten-free choices, but for diabetics as well. Simply ask your server. You can also substitute many food items. For example, rather than greasy French fries, you can ask for a baked potato instead; and rather than mashed potatoes, ask for steamed vegetables.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a healthy holiday season. For more info on healthy eating, including a list of resources available in your community, click here.