The holidays have always been one of my favorite times of the year. For me, it always involves family and friends coming together surrounded by my favorite thing—food!
After I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, it still remained my favorite season. The love has never gone away or changed, but the role my diabetes plays definitely has.
I’ve gone from the out of sight out of mind approach to having low carb alternatives for every holiday meal to finally being able to both enjoy the holidays and be able to be mindful of my numbers. You can try all of the tips below or even just choose one at a time until you feel like you’ve mastered it!
Be Mindful of Movement
It’s difficult to prioritize movement in the colder months, but it really can be one of the best tools you can use to help keep your numbers in range. Physical activity can not only be a great way to get a change of scenery with your loved ones, but can help with lowering any insulin resistance that may be occurring from any high fat and high carb meals you’re having.
It can also help with digestion and to supercharge any insulin on board you have for a meal or stubborn high blood sugar.
Have a Plan
Just like with any special event and your diabetes, you want to have a plan. Diabetes is not one size fits all—and neither will be your approach to the holidays!
If you know the menu, you can try and plan a dosing strategy or bring a dish or entree that you have experience successfully dosing for to ensure you’ll have a safe option. Some people like to trial foods prior to the holiday, so they are prepared when the actual holiday comes. You can also use the Glooko food tracker combined with your glucose data in our digital health app to do this or to help you come up with a dosing strategy.
Others like to just go along with their day as usual and use it as a future learning tool for holidays and festive parties. The important thing to remember is that despite the outcome—you aren’t a failure! It is just one day, one time of the year, and tomorrow is a new day.
Perfect your Plate
The plate planning method is a great tool to use when planning meals all year round, but especially during the holidays!
By making sure you’re balancing your plate, you’re combining the carbohydrates you’re consuming with the protein and fat in the meal to create a great outcome when it comes to how your body is digesting the food. When we “clothe the carbohydrates,” we can help to reduce spiking post meals. With that being said, too much of an item can delay digestion too much and create spiking hours later, so aim for ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate carbohydrates and the remainder being a vegetable.
Here’s a pro tip: Try to aim for vegetables with a higher fiber content for a boost in blood sugar stabilization and minimize spikes.
Use Helpful Diabetes Tools
Technology can be our best friend when it comes to tackling the holidays.
Don’t forget to use the food tracking feature in the Glooko mobile app to help you figure out the best carbohydrate amounts for your meals. Try to look items up ahead of time so that you’re prepared going into your meal. You can even go back and review your data after the holidays have passed so that you can make adjustments to your plan.
A fitness tracker can help you see your activity levels and be a gentle reminder to increase your movement if you’re dealing with stubborn highs. Many different fitness devices are even compatible with Glooko, which by connecting your device allows you to see all your data in one place.
Remember, it’s only Temporary!
It’s just one day or one season.
Blood sugar spikes can happen any time, but the holidays and time spent with your family do not. Blood sugars are going to fluctuate during the day regardless and sometimes the added stress of worrying about blood sugars can make any insulin resistance you’re experiencing from decreased movement worse.
And if you’re looking for a tasty treat that is blood sugar friendly, I’ve got one for you! This chocolate chia pudding can do triple duty as a breakfast item, snack or even a dessert! Chia seeds have a low impact on blood sugar levels (thanks to lots of fiber!) and can be extremely filling for a small amount. Some people don’t like the texture, which is understandable! You can get around this by blending it up until it is smooth.
No matter the outcome of your festive treat feats—I hope you have a happy holiday season and find the food tracker feature in Glooko helpful in all your holiday food adventures!
See you next year!
Bridget Wood, RD, LD, CDCES