Janis Rusen, Registered Dietitian at Women’s College Hospital, shares tips to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugars during the holiday season.
The holiday season is upon us and that often means indulging in festive treats and dinners. We should all allow ourselves to have fun but for those with type 2 diabetes, making the holiday rounds requires extra care and consideration to manage blood sugar levels. To avoid missing out on any fun, here are a few tips for joyful and mindful eating and drinking:
1. Stick to your routine. It’s easy to overeat when we save all our calories for one meal or holiday gathering. To avoid overeating, stick to your usual eating routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
2. Start the day with a balanced meal. Help keep your blood sugars stable throughout the day by including protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your first meal of the day.
3. Scan the buffet table before you fill your plate. Use the ‘balanced plate’ method to portion your holiday meals: half your plate with colourful vegetables or salads; a quarter of your plate with proteins of your choice (lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils) and a quarter of your plate with grains and starches. But do choose the foods you love – it’s the holidays!
4. Limit sweetened holiday beverages. Hot and cold drinks like eggnog, apple cider, hot chocolate, juice, and pop contain a lot of sugar, which can quickly elevate blood sugars. Try to enjoy these drinks in moderation, balancing with flat or sparkling water or sugar-free beverages.
5. Limit alcoholic beverages. On top of the extra sugar found in some alcoholic drinks, alcohol can interact poorly with some diabetes medications. Speak to your healthcare provider about alcohol use with your medications.
6. Stay active. Walking after meals is a great way to help lower your blood sugars.
It can be tempting to go “all or nothing” around the holiday season, but balance and moderation are key. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods and drinks you enjoy but keep your blood sugars in mind when hitting up holiday parties.