We often see people with diabetes who think that they have to ignore holiday meals. That is not the case. We believe that it is perfectly possible for diabetic individuals to fully enjoy that part of the holiday season and stay healthy. All it takes is a little bit of extra planning.

Plan Ahead

There are plenty of opportunities to indulge during the holiday season, from parties and work to free samples at the grocery store. It is all too easy to overindulge by simply seizing opportunities as they present themselves. Picking and choosing a few events in advance will make it much easier to stay healthy.

We also encourage people to plan out their meals at those events, at least in loose terms. Eating a small, healthy meal before attending can help to cut down on the temptation to eat a lot of unhealthy foods at the main event. People who are cooking can search for diabetes-friendly recipes in advance to help make everything healthier.

Choose Foods Carefully

It also pays to pick the right foods at the table. People who want to try every dish should stick to small samples, while those who prefer to stick to a few favorites should be sure to fill the rest of their plates with healthy options. A rough rule of thumb is to load half of a normal plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of it with a serving of protein, and a quarter with one serving of carbohydrates.

Remember that toppings, such as salad dressings, can have a big nutritional impact and should be used with care.

Manage Your Portions

Big portions can be a big problem but they are also fairly easy to avoid. Starting with a small portion is important, but people tend to let their meals get out of hand when they go for the second or third helping. There are a few tricks that can keep that urge under control.

Starting the meal with water, salad, and other bulky foods can make you feel full without eating nearly as much. Eating slowly will also make it easier to feel satisfied with smaller portions. Using a smaller plate can help “trick” your mind into thinking you have a full plate of food. Proper pacing can also prevent the urge to keep taking more food to avoid sitting around and waiting for the meal to end while others are still eating.

Healthy Lifestyles Help

A little bit of exercise can go a long way toward staying healthy during the holidays. Big gatherings are a great time to try some sports or just go for a walk with friends or family, which can help to keep everyone healthy.

It is also important to manage stress. That can be hard for people who are running big events or just trying to travel on a tight schedule but it is vital nonetheless. Stress can encourage unhealthy habits and even influence blood sugar levels.

Remember to Double-Check

It is always a good idea to get a second, professional opinion on your plans. Medical professionals can help to construct a healthy holiday diet, create an exercise plan, and help to prevent problems before they start. We urge anyone with concerns about their holiday health to get in touch with a doctor to develop a plan to stay healthy.