10 Tips to Manage Diabetes During the Holidays
‘Tis the season of the most wonderful time of year! What a joy to catch up with family and friends. However, the holidays come with a lot of focus on food. Don’t let your diabetes stop you from enjoying all the festivities! Diabetes educators from Corporate Wellness Nutrition, a division of Wellness Coaches, is finishing up American Diabetes Month with some great tips on how to manage diabetes during the holiday season. Our first 5 tips to manage diabetes come from Michael Becker MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, CPT. Michael holds a B.S. from La Salle University and a M.S. from Kansas State University. He is a Registered Dietitian with 11 years of experience in weight management nutrition counseling in a corporate wellness setting and 6 years of experience in medical nutrition therapy for diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, digestive issues and food allergies. He’s also been a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) since May, 2021. Michael struggled with weight as a child and teenager, which sparked his passion for nutrition and helping others manage their weight.
Mike’s Diabetes Management Tips:
- Plan ahead when possible – dedicate 25% of your holiday plate to your favorite carbohydrate side dish or dessert around the holidays. My choice is usually stuffing since I only have it once a year! Fill the rest with lean protein and non-starchy vegetables.
- If choosing to eat dessert at a holiday gathering, consider having less starchy carbohydrates during the meal (potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn).
- If hosting a holiday meal or traveling to one, bring a healthy appetizer, side dish or dessert made with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats or whole grains to guarantee you one option to keep you on track.
- Avoid skipping meals to save up for the big feast – try to have small snacks and lighter meals instead that include some carbohydrate and protein to control hunger and avoid low blood sugar.
- Meeting with a diabetes educator can help you plan out your holiday health goals to keep you on track while enjoying the foods and family time around the holidays.
With some advanced planning, you can still enjoy all of your favorite holiday dishes without compromising your blood sugar! Our next 5 tips come from Melissa Stabler MBA, RD, CNSC, CDCES. Melissa has a unique and personal story with diabetes, as she herself has had Type 1 Diabetes for 46 years! Ironically, she was first diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving – before glucometers were invented! She learned first hand how to use a diabetic exchange list with her dad in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. Her team of amazing care providers and phenomenal family helped make her Diabetes livable, and now she’s giving back as a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Melissa holds a B.S. from University of Delaware, an M.B.A. from University of Delaware, and did a Fellowship in Nutrition Support and Metabolism from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). She has been a Registered Dietitian with over 35 years experience in a clinical setting, including critical care and dialysis and outpatient, and a CDCES since 2015.
Melissa’s Diabetes Management Tips:
- Bring non-starchy veggies to the table: Make “fancy” non-starchy veggies to enjoy with meal (this can be the new star that tastes great and doesn’t drastically increase your blood sugars)
- Make a wonderful side salad with fresh fall ingredients such as beets and brussels sprouts, with dressing sparingly on side.
- Look for calorie-free drinks. If you choose alcohol, practice moderation and use calorie-free mixers.
- Monitor the grains and starchy vegetables on your plate such as stuffing, sweet potatoes, or dinner rolls. Enjoy them all, but monitor your portions. Work with a CDCES or Registered Dietitian to determine which portions are right for you.
- Don’t forget to exercise! Enjoy nice, long walk with family or friends after a big holiday meal!
Remember, you’ve worked hard to stay on course with managing your diabetes throughout the year. Don’t let the holiday season throw you off. Make a promise to put yourself on top of the priority list! All of us at Corporate Wellness Nutrition wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season!