This article was originally published on dLife.com—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as "What to Do About the Holidays," and is reposted with permission from the author.
Diabetes doesn't have to take the life out of the party.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. The joy of family and friends, the sharing of the thankfulness in our hearts with those we cherish, and of course, the food! When I think on this holiday though, there is always a certain amount of anxiety. What is the next year going to hold? How many more diabetes anniversaries will I celebrate? (I was diagnosed on Thanksgiving.) Am I going to be able to control my glucose during the upcoming holiday celebrations? How much is the fun and food going to cost me in terms of my control? I bet these are questions each of us will ponder and ask throughout the season (or at least we should!).
Here are my thoughts on how to make this an exceptional celebration season and how to approach food-related holidays with vigor and enthusiasm.
Also on Z Living: 9 Habits of Healthy Eaters, Straight From A Dietitian
A Diabetic's 16 Rules For Food-Related Holidays
- Don't go to a party hungry.
- Don't starve yourself throughout the day to "save up" for the big meal.
- Don't stand near the buffet or food table.
- Eat small portions. (Reduce by 25-50%.) Use a small plate.
- Avoid rolls and extra bread – too many extra carbs.
- Drink lots of water before and during the meal. Precede each meal with at least one 8 oz. glass of water.
- Know the facts about alcohol and diabetes – what lowers and what raises your blood sugar.
- Avoid sauces that are cream-based if you are watching fat and calories.
- Watch for hidden sugars in foods made with fruit, jams, or dried fruit.
- Choose appetizers with veggies and protein.
- Fill your plate with 50% veggies or salad.
- Fill your plate once and no more. Do not go back to the kitchen or buffet.
- Take "breaks" between bites.
- Keep your head up. Talk to others at the table during dinner.
- Check your blood sugar before and after holiday celebrations.
- But overall: enjoy yourself!!!
Also on Z Living: How To (Safely!) Drink & Manage Your Diabetes
Celebrate the season
Most important though, let's remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season. For me, this is a time of celebrating life and the miracle of medicine. As I mentioned before, I was diagnosed during the Thanksgiving holidays. It is a special time for me and my family. Part of the season will be spent being thankful for the blessing of living with this disease and wishing for a day without it. Diabetes has brought me more than I could ever imagine, I am a better person because of this disease – that is part of the reason I celebrate.