Ask the RD: How do I stay on track during the holidays?

Q: The holiday celebrations have started – how can I enjoy the holidays and the time with my family & friends without my blood sugar control being affected?

A: If you are thinking of good blood sugar control during the holidays – kudos to you! The holidays should not be a time that “puts all your hard work to waste.” Your healthcare team understands that it is a busy and stressful time of the year and it is easy to let a few holiday events make you feel that you’ve fallen off track.

Our suggestions:

  • Do not skip a meal: continue eating your 3 meals. This will help prevent you from being overly hungry and overeating.
  • If the dinner party starts late, have a balanced snack mid-afternoon: greek yogurt or cheese with a piece of fruit or whole grain crackers, slice of whole wheat/grain bread with peanut butter or turkey (check out our list of Smart Snacks here!).
  • If the dinner party is a buffet:
    • walk by the buffet once without a plate to quickly scan what options are available.
    • take a plate and choose your top 3! Try to include a protein (chicken, turkey, meat or fish), healthy carbohydrate (starchy vegetables, pasta, rice, or bread), and vegetables (salad, steamed vegetables or vegetable soup)
    • if you are still hungry, drink more water or add more vegetables
    • yes, you can go back to the buffet for a dessert. If you want to try several desserts, pick 2 and share
  • If you receive chocolate or candy as a gift:
    • open the box and share with other guests.
    • put the box out with the other desserts
    • put the remaining chocolate /candy away in a closet- leaving them on a counter could increase temptation!
  • Prevent overeating when staying home: use your vacation as “catch up time”
    • Call your friends and family
    • Write holiday greeting cards
    • Walk around the mall even if you have no more gifts to buy
    • Fix things around the house/little renovations
    • Clean-up or organize basement/attic/office/rooms…
  • Continue to check your blood sugars:
    • holidays are a stressful time for many people and stress can increase your blood sugars
    • eating habits differ during the holidays which could increase or decrease your blood sugars more than usual
  • Stay active!
    • put on some warm clothes and go outside and play with the kids, create team games or simply go for a walk.
  • Last but not least, remember alcohol should be consumed in moderation (see the blog post on Alcohol and Diabetes). Please remember to drink responsibly!
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