November has been named National Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness about diabetes prevention and treatment. This month also marks the beginning of a challenging time for diabetics: the holiday season.
All of the hustle and bustle that comes along with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, and the other winter holidays can be especially draining for diabetics. But, keeping on top of healthy eating, exercise, and glucose levels is important—no matter what month it is.
Here are some tips for diabetics wanting to create a healthy and happy holiday season.
To Grandmother’s House We Go
No matter if you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, you need to plan ahead.
- You never know when a travel delay will strike, so be sure to pack extra diabetic supplies.
- Keep a supply of snacks with you at all times. Remember to pack healthy snacks that might be hard to find in airports or gas stations. Vegetables, fruit, cheese, nuts, and yogurt are all great options.
- Don’t forget the drinks! Bring along plenty of water.
- If you’re traveling by air, keep all diabetic supplies (with the prescription labels attached) in your carry-on luggage. Diabetic supplies are not limited by the TSA’s liquid rules. Insulin and other medications are fine, even if they are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces. Be sure to alert a TSA agent that you are diabetic and allow that agent to inspect your supplies.
- Remember, you may need to check your blood sugar more often when you’re traveling.
The Dinner Table
Is there a way to eat healthy during the holidays? Can you indulge in the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas ham? Yes! Here are some ways to create a diabetic-friendly holiday meal.
- Don’t be tempted to save up your carbs before a big meal. This will probably lead to overeating and difficulty managing your blood sugar levels. It’s best to eat small or moderate meals during the day leading up to a holiday party.
- Beware of the worst holiday offenders: breads, chips, gravies, creams, and the like. If these are your favorites, take a very small portion. Or, instead, search the table for fresh options like cheese, fruits, and vegetables.
- If you’d like to have a few alcoholic beverages during the holiday season, be sure to discuss your options with your doctor first. If you decide to stay away from alcohol altogether, opt for sparkling or flavored water, or a diet soda.
Even though you may be tempted to lounge around in your coziest blanket all of November and December, don’t let the holiday season derail your healthy lifestyle. Do your best to stick with a routine.
- Get active! Grab family and friends for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. If you’d like some competition, sign up for a “turkey trot” or “reindeer run”.
- Do your best to keep a consistent sleep schedule.
- Stick to healthy eating at home. Reserve the sweets and treats for holiday parties.
As you’re using these tips, don’t forget to have fun, too! Don’t unfairly limit yourself because you have diabetes. With just a bit of advanced planning, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to create lasting holiday memories with your family and friends.
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