This may be the season of giving, but it’s also the season of eating! While we’re excited for the merriment this time of year brings, it also makes us wonder how we’ll make it through with our health (and waistlines) intact.
With all the festive eats and treats, the holidays can feel like an endless buffet of temptations. To help you through, here are five tips to keep the season of joy, hope and love from turning into a time of weight gain, guilt and stress.
- Don’t skip meals. When gearing up for a big feast, it can be tempting to skip meals earlier in the day to save calories and allow you to splurge at the main meal. This is never a good idea—especially if you have diabetes. Missing a meal slows down your metabolism and sets you up to actually eat more later on. Not to mention, it can wreak havoc on your blood glucose. Your best bet? Snack on lighter options throughout the day to keep your calories down.
- Be prepared. As you navigate the many festivities of the holiday season, a little planning can go a long way. If you are asked to bring a dish to a social gathering, consider taking along one of your healthy favorites so you know you’ll have at least one sensible option while you’re there. Also, have a snack before you go so you don’t arrive famished and ready to eat anything in sight!
- Size up your options. Once you arrive at your event, survey the offerings first before planning what to eat. This will help you strategize so you can indulge in the foods you truly enjoy and the seasonal options that are only available this time of year. Have a small portion of what you’re really craving… then fill the rest of your plate with healthier fare.
- Drink up! (No, not that way.) Hunger and thirst are two sensations that can often be confused. To help keep your hunger in check, stay hydrated. Next time you find yourself reaching for a second helping, try having a glass of water first. Drinking plenty of calorie-free beverages, such as water or seltzer, can help keep hunger at bay and your blood glucose in a good place.
- Relax… and enjoy! The holidays are a special time of year, but overly fixating on every bite can quickly overshadow them, so find a balance that works for you. While you may slip up along the way, remember that one evening of overindulging doesn’t mean all is lost. Focus each day on the healthy choices you can (and will!) make and your holidays will be that much merrier.
And don’t forget that exercise is a key component of diabetes management, all year long! Squeeze in short bouts of activity throughout the day to meet your exercise goals this hectic season. For example, you can recruit your family and friends into taking a walk around the neighborhood between dinner and dessert.
Planning your holiday meals? Check out our recipe tips that won’t disrupt your diabetes control.