Yes, we can control diabetes during the holidays!

The holiday season will be upon us soon! Moments of careless eating can cause mayhem on blood sugar levels. Here are some tips to keep diabetes well-controlled.

Holidays are a time to connect with family and friends, create memories, decorate, make special foods…and, unfortunately for some, eat! This can mean elevated blood sugar levels and weight gain.

To avoid blood sugar spikes and weight gain this holiday season Michigan State University Extension suggest the following:

Seek out activities that don’t involve food: 

  • Call a community organization like a homeless, domestic violence or animal shelter and see what assistance they need to decorate, clean or gather gifts.
  • Host a caroling event around the neighborhood.
  • Check out concerts, musicals, plays or movies in town and gather a group to attend.
  • Volunteer at a local school.  Schools need people during the day to assist in classrooms, perform clerical activities and tutor students.  Volunteers are needed at other times to help with athletic events, chaperone dances and field trips, and mentor students.
  • Shop!  Select a name off a community giving tree and fulfill the wish of someone who may otherwise not be gifted during the season.
  • Accompany family or friends on their shopping trips, even if we’ve finished our own tasks.  We can enjoy people we like and stay in the spirit of the season.

Make an appointment with ourselves to be physically active:

  • Plan a couple of 10-15 minute blocks of activity on most days.  Activity doesn’t need to be done in 30 or 60 minute increments; even parking farther from the store and enjoying a walk to the door can improve our attitude, relieve stress and help avoid weight gain and lower glucose levels.
  • Plan to take a walk after dinner most nights during the week.  Bring family members along to visit with along the way.
  • Try a new activity. Rent snowshoes or cross-country skis and explore the parks in town.  Or get a pedometer, wear it for a couple of days and determine the baseline number of steps.  Then try to increase the number, even slightly, each day.
  • When traveling wear comfortable shoes and walk in the airport before or between flights.  Choose accommodations with exercise facilities or walk in the hallways when there’s time.

Focus on healthier foods:

  • Re-make favorite recipes using lower sugar or lower fat ingredients. Desserts can be made substituting artificial sweetener for some of the sugar.  And the entire amount of fat in non-baked foods can be substituted with non-fat or low-fat alternatives. Examples of these include salads, such as pasta or chicken salad.  Even some baked goods can be modified by using fat-free dairy products or substituting fruit puree for some of the fat.
  • Make a conscious effort to eat fruits and vegetables for snacks and to begin each meal with a non-starchy vegetable or green salad. Don’t forget the lean protein, as well!  Go light on gravy, sauces and butter.  And remember; we can enjoy a small amount of dessert, in place of other carbohydrate foods.

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