Norman Regional Health System

Friday, November 18, 2022

‘Tis the season for celebration and time with family, festivity, food and temptation.

Temptations are everywhere — parties and travel disrupt daily routines for families. Especially challenging for those managing a chronic medical condition such as diabetes.

How do you stick to your diabetic meal plan when everyone around you seems to be indulging themselves?

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Here are 5 tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can help:

1. Holiday-Proof Your Plan

You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re going to see other people eating tempting treats. Meet the challenges armed with a plan:

• Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
• Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish!
• If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
• Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to manage your blood sugar, and you’ll be extra hungry and more likely to overeat.
• If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

2. Outsmart the Buffet

When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:

• Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
• Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
• Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
• Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines .
• Plan to stay on top of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays, and if you take medicine, ask your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted.

3. Fit in Favorites

No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a smaller serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.

4. Keep Moving and Stay Active

You’ve got a lot on your schedule this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.

5. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to manage your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar foods. Aim for 7-8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Most of all, remember what the season means to you—celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.

The goal of the Norman Regional Diabetes Program is to empower patients to manage this serious condition through classes, counseling, insulin pump training and support groups.

For more information on Norman Regional’s Diabetes Program and Endocrinology Services visit our website.