Any time of year, caring for your diabetes requires effort. The holiday season brings an added challenge in maintaining well-controlled blood glucose levels. However, having diabetes does not have to take away from the joys of the festive season. With a little preparation and planning, you can fully enjoy celebrations with family, friends and loved ones.
These simple suggestions can help you to make the most of the holidays without hurting your diabetes control.
You will be better able to maintain blood glucose control during the holidays if your blood glucose is within safe ranges before the holiday season.
If your holidays include a large meal (and whose holidays do not?), extra insulin or exercise may be needed. For instance, if your blood glucose level rises above the safe post-meal level, enlist a family member or friend to walk the block with you once dinner is over.
If you take insulin, your strategy may include dose changes for special occasions. Discuss changes in insulin doses with your doctor or diabetes educator so that you are well prepared. Carbohydrate counting
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may be a useful tool for you. A dietitian can help you to learn and use this method to plan for these situations.
If you think you may be drinking alcohol, do some testing before the holidays. (You have already discussed alcohol with your doctor, of course.) Use alcohol with caution as it may affect blood glucose levels for up to 12 hours after drinking. Check your blood glucose to determine the effects of alcohol on your levels. Knowing what changes to expect will give you the confidence to be able to enjoy a drink. Women should limit their consumption to one or less drinks per day, and men to two or less.
If you are the one planning meals during the holidays, choose meals that you know are healthy for you. Chances are you will be doing your family and company a healthy good deed as well.
Most important, eating healthy foods does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself. Many healthy foods also taste good! You are much more likely to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest if your blood glucose is well controlled within safe ranges and you are feeling your best.