Fall is here – the air is crisp and according to the national weather reports, downright cold in many places. This is a sure sign the holiday season is starting. Not only will the feasting begin but the opportunity for outside exercise will be challenging. So we need to come up with ideas for our patients – as well as ourselves – to survive the season by planning ahead and doing some damage control. I want to share with you some ideas from my patients -
1. Start experimenting with new dishes. There are many sites on the internet that offer new ways to prepare dishes that can be healthier. Look for options to modify old favorites by trying lower calorie or lower carbohydrate substitutions. Consider reducing the high carb or high fat ingredient - Add extra veggies. Be sure to do a “practice” run before the big event – you don’t want the stress of a failed dish to complicate your holiday fun.
2. The holidays is when we sometimes step outside our usual circles and perhaps not everyone you will be socializing with may be aware you have diabetes. It can be awkward to discuss your dietary restrictions with people you do not know well. When invited out to dinners, offer to bring a side dish. That way you know how it is prepared. Eat small amounts if you are not sure of the content of the dish. Or you could slyly ask – “This looks so interesting. What are the ingredients?”
3. Eat an appropriate snack at home prior to going to the parties. That way you will not be starving when you arrive and overeat.
4. Stay away from the calorie laden table. Make it a goal to meet 2 new people. It a human trait that people love to talk about themselves. Find out where they are from – what they do – the last book they read. Involve yourself in conversation so you don’t think about eating.
5. Do not drink your calories – be sure to use non- caloric mixers. Sip on sparkling water between alcoholic beverages to give yourself a break and reduce your caloric intake.
6. Eat healthy at home between parties – it is very tempting to overdo the fast food when you are frantically trying to get the house decorated, organize gifts, attend parties and maintain your usual home life. Stock the fridge with healthy veggies so you will be less tempted to eat junk food.
7. Work in some exercise. If you have enclosed shopping malls in your area, park in the center and walk from end to end. Many of the new super stores provide ample opportunities to get some activity.
8. Monitor glucose more often – if your numbers are totally out of your target goals, try to get things back in line before the next party.
9. Keep track of your medications. Stay organized so to not forget to take medications during all the activities and changes in schedule.
10. Utilize resources. Call your Diabetes Educator if you need help.
11. Don’t give up. Consider each day a new start. January 1st will be here before you know it!
Happy holidays to everyone!!