3 Tips for Managing Your Diabetes During The Holidays

By: Dana Rich, MSN-FNP, Broadlawns Endocrinology Clinic

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Right now there are 34.2 million US adults living with diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t even know that they have it.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t effectively use the insulin it makes. Over time, that can cause health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness.

Healthy eating is one of the best tools you have for managing blood glucose levels. However, healthy eating can be even more challenging during the holiday season. Family gatherings and social events around this time of the year are often centered on food and drinks. The temptation to enjoy traditional holiday foods, full of fat and sugar, is sometimes hard to resist.

Holiday Tips for Managing Diabetes

One important way to maintain your willpower and manage your diabetes during the holiday season is to plan ahead. Here are 3 tips to help you stay on track during the holidays:

  • Drink a glass of water before your meals. Drinking water can fill you up, and a full stomach means that you’ll likely eat less and feel less hungry. Sometimes you may also think that you are hungry when you are actually thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for something to eat can help to curb unnecessary snacking or overeating.
  • Choose a smaller plate. Buying smaller plates or using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate is an easy strategy for portion control. Simply put, it is hard to overindulge when there’s less room on the plate. Another tip, use the salad plate for your protein and carbs, but then use a regular dinner plate for a big salad or all of the veggies you want.
  • Fill your plate in this order: veggies and proteins first, then fruits, and lastly desserts. When filling your plate, start by focusing on the fiber and protein to help limit blood sugar spikes and make you feel full for a longer period of time. Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim for filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables to make sure you get plenty of servings.

Overeating can often happen during the Holidays: drink water, chew your food thoroughly, and don’t overthink it. Find grace for yourself during moments of flexibility. The Holiday season can make it hard to stick to your routine; however, it’s about how seamlessly you can return to your health routine after a deviation that will keep you healthy and happy long-term. Many people connect with family and friends—often around a dinner table—during the holidays. True health is understanding that both of these things are important to maintaining a happy life and a complete routine. Be patient with yourself while maintaining persistence for the goals you want.

We're Here to Help

If you need support in managing your diabetes, the Broadlawns Endocrinology Clinic is here to help. Diabetes education is provided by our Certified Diabetes Educator. Our multi-disciplinary team works with providers throughout the hospital to provide complete and coordinated care. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call (515) 282-3041. All forms of insurance are accepted.