Tips for managing diabetes during the holidays

Tips for managing diabetes during the holidays

Mississippi ranked second in the nation for most cases of diabetes in 2012, and the CDC has some tips for managing your blood sugar during the holidays.

1. First, the CDC suggests trying to maintain your regular eating and medication schedules as much as possible.

  • Eat, be physically active, and take your medication close to the usual times.
  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbohydrates (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
  • Don't skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you'll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
  • If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

2. Also, stay in control of your blood sugar by grabbing some healthier options along with your favorite holiday treats and checking your blood sugar more often.

  • Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
  • Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
  • Slow down and savor. It takes time for your brain to realize you're full.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.

"You want to avoid simple sugars, added syrups and any grain that isn't 100 percent whole grain," said Dr. Michael Roizen from the Cleveland Clinic. Roizen said foods with those ingredients can cause unhealthy spikes and drops in blood sugar.

3. Pick a few favorites and limit yourself to just those. The CDC says it's fine yourself to indulge with smart portion sizes of special foods you can't get any other time of year, but be sure to include them in your meal plan.

"You want no more than four grams of sugar per hour," Roizen said.

4. Don't forget to stay active.

"Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday dinner," the CDC said. "Being active can help make up for eating more than usual, and it reduces stress during one of the most stressful times of the year."

5. Sleep is an important factor for regulating blood sugar.

"When you're sleep deprived, you'll tend to eat more, and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating," the CDC said.