Now that Halloween and the World Series are over, the holiday season is in full swing with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve rapidly approaching. If you ask my husband, the holiday season continues with the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day. It’s all one big food fest. But never fear – one way to deal with all the temptations is to be prepared. Here are a few ideas for you and your patients to consider to keep your holidays happy.
- Plan ahead: consider where you might be going and who might attend. Will you stay at home for the holidays? In that case, it should be easier to manage since there will be limited input and distractions. If you are traveling to big family gatherings, you might want to plan a bit more.
- Consider meal plans: if you are spending the holidays with family you probably know what will be on the menu – Aunt Evelyn’s famous green bean casserole, Uncle Henry’s elaborate dessert with pounds of butter and sugar. If you are spending time with new friends, you might talk to them about what they are planning. If appropriate, offer to bring a few of your dishes to add to the buffet, such as your favorite veggie dish. If you are looking for new dishes, now is a good time to start practicing. My sister is great at adding cauliflower to mashed potatoes, using half the sugar in a recipe, or substituting plain low-fat Greek yogurt for sour cream (my new fav substitute for dips & spreads). My family has not let me forget the Pumpkin Fluff I made in 1994 with saccharin. It was NOT a keeper.
Expect to eat healthy. Keep your goals in mind.
- Intend to eat healthy: attend parties and functions with the idea that you WILL eat appropriately. Make a dedicated decision to eat healthy. There is a saying "You get what you expect," so expect to eat healthy. Keep your goals in mind.
- Take extras: be sure you take plenty of extra medications and supplies when traveling. Do not pack it all in your suitcase. Split your essential items up and carry a few items with you. Too often your suitcase may end up someplace different than where you are. Or you might be having such a great time, you decide to stay an extra week.
- Know your time zone: be aware of changes in timing that may affect some of your medications or your insulin pump. If you will only be away for a few days, you might try to stay on your home schedule with a few modifications.
- Work in some time to exercise: rather than passing out on the couch after your meal, encourage others to join you and take a brisk walk around the block. Look for ideas at local museums or arboretums where you can get out and move a bit. If you have young children in your family, plan for a simple outdoor scavenger hunt - join them while they search for a rock with a hole in it, a bird feather, a leaf with 5 points.
With a little advance planning, you can help your holidays be healthy and happy. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!
About the Author
Barbara Walz is an RN, BSN and has been a certified diabetes educator since 1986. Since 2000, Barbara has coordinated a multi-site diabetes study examining the macro-vascular effects of diabetes at the South Texas Veterans’ Healthcare System under the supervision of Dr. Ralph DeFronzo.