It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays are also a challenging time for individuals with diabetes. From office parties to family gatherings to plates of cookies, cakes, and other sweets seemingly appearing on every counter 24/7, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is fraught with diabetic dietary dilemmas that must be managed effectively.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you can still have a holly, jolly holiday season that includes tasty treats and delicious meals; you just need to plan ahead and adopt a strategy for dealing with the temptations and disruptions the season can bring.
Here are five tips for managing type 2 diabetes during this holiday season:
1. Account For Changing Meal Times
Whether on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or other times during the season, meals often occur at unusual hours. For example, many families sit down for dinner at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon on turkey day. Plan for how you will adjust your insulin or snack times to account for meals that don’t align with your regular schedule. Speak to your diabetes health care provider before the holidays to discuss how best to handle mealtime changes throughout the holiday season.
2. Plan Your Snacks
Just as some holiday meals may occur early, some gatherings won’t see food arrive at the table until well after you arrive. Find out from your host approximately what time they’ll be serving food and whether there will be healthy snacks to munch on beforehand. If not, plan on bringing a healthy, shareable appetizer to the party.
3. Reduce Your Portion Size
Carbs are king during the holidays, which can make managing blood glucose levels particularly tricky. While you can certainly have yourself some of these carb-rich foods, be mindful with the portions given the likelihood that there are more carb-heavy dishes on the table than usual. If you can’t narrow down your selections, try the “two tablespoon rule”: check out all the available options and then take two-tablespoon “samples” of your faves. But even modest samples can add up over time, so try to keep your total carbohydrate intake similar to a normal day.
4. Be Selective
As noted, many traditional holiday foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other desserts. You don’t have to eat them all, especially those like mashed potatoes that you probably eat at other times of the year. Focus on the foods that you only tend to have during the holidays, like that pumpkin pie.
5. Stay Vigilant With Your Blood Glucose Monitoring
Disruptive schedules full of gatherings, errands, travel, and other obligations can interfere with your regular blood sugar monitoring schedule. By using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), however, you can monitor your blood sugar levels 24 hours a day during the holidays without interrupting your day to obtain a blood sample.
CGM has easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status.
Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.