If you have diabetes, a condition that affects your blood sugar stability, or you want to control your caloric intake better, or you know that any deviation from your routine can make your blood sugar even more unpredictable than usual.
The holidays remove us from our routines and introduce unusual foods into our daily lives. This can lead to unwanted stress during a time when you may be traveling away from home, and wanting anything but to experience blood sugar issues. Fortunately, you can still practice disciplines that will give you the best possible chance for success. Here’s how to manage your blood sugar levels during the holidays.
- First, you should make sure to plan ahead. Offer to bring a healthy entree if our host reports that none will be available at the family gathering. If you and your loved ones go out to eat, take a look at the menu well ahead of time so that you’ll be sure to order something that works for your unique dietary needs.
- Make sure to drink enough water. This will help you feel satiated, and therefore less likely to drink alcohol and eat snacks, particularly those high in sugar. If you plan to drive or fly during the holidays, staying hydrated can help prevent you from indulging in too much unhealthy fast food or other less-than-ideal dining options that are your only choice when away from home.
- When it comes to a big holiday feast, pay attention to the nutritional composition of the foods you put on your plate. Fat and protein won’t have a tremendous impact on your blood sugar, but carbohydrates (like those in desserts and bread items) most certainly will. If it’s carbs and you’re not used to eating it at home, be careful with how much you consume over the holidays. This will also help you control holiday weight gain.
- Don’t eat mindlessly. When you’re at a holiday party, it’s easy to consume, consume, consume, with no thought to how many calories you’re actually putting away. Maintain the same portion discipline you practice at home. Take a look at the National Institutes of Health portion size guides. Internalizing what a portion “looks like” will help you make the right choices when you’re deciding what to eat at your next holiday party.
- Holiday parties are exciting, fast-paced, and highly stimulating. It can be easy, in these environments, to gobble your food, particularly if you suffer from any sort of social or holiday anxiety. Nonetheless, pump the brakes on your holiday eating, and you’ll likely eat less overall. As the food arrives in your belly, you’ll begin to feel full, and if you aren’t already into your third helpings when this feeling of satiety occurs, you’ll have consumed less than you might have when you were paying less attention to these things.
- Find ways to exercise a little. Even if you’re traveling away from home, a morning walk through the neighborhood may be just the thing to burn a few calories and speed up digestion. You may find that your loved ones will even join you if you suggest this activity.
- One of the best ways to manage blood sugar during the holidays is to bring along some supplements that can counteract any blood sugar spikes you might experience despite your best efforts to prevent them. Berberine-500 from Thorne Research, Berberine Root Extract from Solaray, and Berberine Force from DaVinci Labs all contain natural sources of berberine, which is a natural chemical found in plants and may help to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the normal range. Make sure to pack some in your holiday luggage!
Holidays can be an unpredictable time for people with blood sugar issues, but fortunately, there are many ways you can plan for good health during this most wonderful time of the year.