Enjoy the Holidays Despite Diabetes

Posted by D Sharp - December 22, 2011 - DSharp - No Comments
The holidays tempt the best of our good intentions with parties, buy
sugary treats, super-sized meals and hectic schedules. It can be hard to stick to diets and exercise routines. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, you can’t exactly take a day off or a break from your medication or insulin.
Happy Holidays from your glucometer

If you’re like me and you like to have tight control of your BGs, there are ways to cut yourself some slack. While you can’t take a complete vacation from diabetes, you can enjoy many of the season’s treats without completely derailing your diabetes care. Enjoy the holidays and let the stress come from your in-laws and mall parking lots, not your diabetes care.

Here are six ways to stay on top of diabetes while keeping up with the shopping, events and big meals.

1) Don’t be shy. Ask for nutritional information.

If you’re eating out or grabbing a treat while shopping, don’t forget to ask your server or sales associate for nutritional info. Don’t accept, “It’s not that sweet” as an answer. That just means they have no clue how much sugar is in that item. Most places should have information either in a pamphlet you can take or a binder they can show you. You want to see numbers before you decide if that treat is really worth it.

2) Stock up on the low-sugar versions of your favourite treats.

I was craving hot chocolate for three weeks before I found a nice alternative: Starbuck’s Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte with skim milk. There’s still carbs and sugar to count from the milk, but it’s less than a third of what the full fat and sugar version could be. Nestle also makes a low-sugar instant hot chocolate. And if you’re you’re willing to make it from scratch, good ol’ unsweetened cocoa powder is the way to go. You get to control the amount of sugar or substitute that gets added.

3) Choose recipes that give nutritional information.

If you’re hosting dinner or baking desserts, choose menu items that allow you and your guests to calculate their carbs or calories. Just remember to try and keep the serving size the same as the breakdown provided, e.g. if the chocolate cake recipe shows a single serving as 1/12 of a 9” cake pan, don’t cut the cake into eighths or use a different size of pan.

4)Test more if you’re guesstimating a lot of food.

Chances are you’ll have to eyeball quantity and guess at ingredients. Not all dinner rolls are created equally, so what you guess is 15 grams of carbs could actually be 20. Those seemingly little discrepancies can add up over a meal and leave you on the high or low side of your target BGs. Try to test after your meal and before bed to see if you need a correction.

5) Look up your carb counts before the big day.

You’ll likely have a pretty good idea of what’s being served before you sit down for a festive meal. That’s the beauty of tradition. A little cheat sheet for cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and other favourites, may be just what you need to gracefully decide between one helping or two.

6) Don’t forget to pack snacks and sugar for lows.

Dinner is planned for 5 pm, but the turkey needs to cook longer and your lunch was grazing over treats and appetizers. The unpredictability of the holidays can make it hard to match your activity with food and insulin. It’s always easier to reach in your pocket or bag than to find a convenience store or ask the host for something sweet. Be safe and check before driving and keep snacks close by. If I’m being really diligent, I’ll do a BG check after a long drive, which often shows that I’m on the higher side from all that sitting.

Please share your ways of coping with the holidays and all the joy and treats that come with it!


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