Navigating Healthy Choices During the Holidays with Diabetes

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and indulgence. However, for those living with diabetes, maintaining healthy eating habits can pose a challenge amidst the plethora of tempting treats.

Sara Yap, MD
Sara Yap, MD Endocrinologist

“At the Riverside Diabetes Wellness Center, we teach our patients that they can still eat the foods they love while being mindful of their diabetes,” says Dr. Sara Yap, endocrinologist at Riverside.

Plan Ahead: Before attending holiday gatherings, plan your meals and snacks for the day. Choose a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to help stabilize blood sugar levels. This will prevent you from overindulging in high-sugar treats due to hunger.

Portion Control: Enjoy holiday dishes in moderation. Use smaller plates and be mindful of portion sizes to avoid excessive consumption of carbs and sugars. Opt for a mix of lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains to create a balanced plate.

Stay Hydrated: Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This can help control your appetite and prevent overeating.

Stay Active: Incorporate physical activity into your holiday routine. Go for a walk after meals or engage in a fun outdoor activity with friends and family. Exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Healthy Substitutions: When cooking or baking, consider using healthier ingredients. Substitute refined sugars with natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol. Use whole grains instead of refined flours, and incorporate fruits and nuts for added flavor and nutrition.

Monitor Blood Sugar: Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels, especially during the holiday season. This will help you understand how different foods and activities affect your body and allow you to make necessary adjustments.

Prioritize Protein and Fiber: Include foods rich in protein and fiber in your meals. These nutrients help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer, reducing the temptation to overindulge.

In conclusion, individuals with diabetes can enjoy the holiday season without compromising their health. By planning ahead, making mindful choices, and staying active, you can navigate through festive gatherings while keeping your blood sugar levels under control. “Remember, moderation is key, and with a little preparation, you can savor the holiday spirit while maintaining your diabetes management goals,” says Dr. Yap.