Put the Sweets Down: Manage Your Diabetes this Holiday Season

Holidays are supposed to be filled with joy, but for diabetics too many holidays are filled with visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations. If you speak to anyone working in the ER around Thanksgiving and Christmas they will tell you that the number of diabetics they see increases during these times. It happens year after year. They may even be able to name a few who are regulars! It feels like diabetes and holidays don’t mix.

Seven Holiday Tips from the American Diabetes Association

The need to manage your blood sugar doesn’t take a holiday. Be in control of diabetes and have fun! The American Diabetes Association is an excellent resource for tips, advice, recipes, and ways to cope with those times when you wish you didn’t have to watch what you eat. They recommend 7 tips on keeping your blood sugar on an even keel and enjoy the holidays without feeling left out.

  1. Focus on friends and family, not food.
  2. Don’t overdo it at parties. Watch your portion sizes!
  3. Eat before you eat. (In other words, don’t skip snacks and meals to “save room.”)
  4. Bring what you like.
  5. Moderate your drinking.
  6. Remain active.
  7. If you mess up, get back on track. Don’t beat yourself up.

Holidays are meant to enjoy the people around us, but holiday activities have become very focused on food. If you are the host, plan other activities such as decorating the tree, playing board games, or wrapping packages for charity. A nice walk after each meal wouldn’t hurt either, physical activity after a meal can help regulate blood sugar.

If you are a guest, there is nothing wrong with quietly letting the host know that the food looks delicious. Close family and friends should know of your condition. It’s OK to gently remind them if they press unwanted food or drink on you. You could even enlist some support; someone to help you say no.

If you have any tips or resources for managing your diabetes during the holidays, let us know! 

Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas