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Huntsville Hospital offers tips for managing diabetes over the holidays

HUNTSVILLE – The Huntsville Hospital Diabetes Control Center has five tips for those working to manage their diabetes over the holidays.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around 38 million people in the United States, or 11.6% of the population, have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream.  

Healthy eating plans help control blood sugar levels but holiday foods can wreak havoc on the best of plans.  

The Diabetes Control Center at Huntsville Hospital has five tips on how to stick to your diabetes meal plan this season.

Think ahead

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Though we don’t know what inspired those famous words, they hold true to so much in life – even the foods we eat!

While you can’t always control what holiday foods you’re served, you can and should make a plan that not only helps you enjoy the foods of the season but keeps your blood sugar levels steady.

For example, if your holiday feast is later than your normal mealtime, don’t wait to eat. Have a small snack at the usual time and eat a little less when your meal is served.

If you’re invited to a party or gathering, bring a diabetes-friendly dish you know will be satisfying and won’t drive up your blood sugar.

Don’t skip meals

It can be tempting to skip meals before your big holiday meal, but doing so will likely set you up for overeating.

Why? Because skipping meals to save calories and carbs will only make you hungrier and increase your chances of overindulging later. It may also result in unstable blood sugar readings.

To avoid this, try eating sensible meals at your regular mealtimes and healthy snacks in between.  

Beat the buffet

If you’re facing a buffet this season, don’t fret. Those with diabetes can still enjoy a delicious holiday spread without throwing their meal plan off course.

Be sure to load up on vegetables you love and save some room for favorites but keep portions small. It takes your body 20 minutes to realize it’s full, so eat slowly to ensure you don’t overdo it.

Finally, move away from the buffet table after your meal is over to avoid mindless eating. Out of sight, out of mind!

Satisfy your sweet tooth

Want to indulge in a sweet treat? No problem! No food is on the naughty list this year.

To stay on top of your blood sugar while enjoying something sweet, simply reduce the amount of carbs like potatoes and bread you eat during lunch or dinner. Better yet, bring your own dessert that is sugar-free or lower in sugar to keep your diet in check.

Take care of yourself

The holidays are a busy time, so be sure to prioritize sleep and physical activity to feel your best throughout the season.

Don’t have time for a full workout? Even short, 10-minute walks a few times a day will help keep you on track for a healthy holiday season.

In addition to a restful night’s sleep, be sure to set aside some “me” time every day for a nap, dog walk or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration.

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