Holiday Diabetes Awareness | Revere Health

November is diabetes awareness month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and one in four of them don’t know they have it. They also report that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and may be underreported. The challenge for people with diabetes is maintaining a safe blood sugar level. This is an especially difficult task over the holidays with the abundance of sweets and treats, so here are some tips about how to manage diabetes during this season.

If you’re over at a friend/family member’s house…

The holidays can be difficult when you know that you’re not in control of every dish that will be at the meal, but you can still be safe and healthy by remembering these important guidelines:

  •       Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages: These are high in calories and offer little nutrition. They can also cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

 

  •       Choose well-balanced meals: When making your plate, look for a good mix of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. Choose good carbohydrates, such as fruits, veggies and whole grains. Limit foods high in saturated fat or trans fat, including fried foods, whole dairy products, salad dressings and many sweets.

 

  •       Count your carbs and watch portion sizes: Carbohydrates often have the largest impact on blood sugar levels, and people taking insulin have to pay close attention to carbs in their diet. Because of this, portion control is vital. If you are having a holiday meal at a friend or family member’s house, be mindful of what and how much you put on your plate.

 

  • Pay attention to your meal and medication schedules: Eating too little or too much food when taking diabetes medications can lead to blood sugar irregularities. Speak to your doctor about coordinating these schedules properly and keep your holiday schedule in mind.

If you’re having a guest over who has diabetes…

 

The basic principles of a diabetic diet are to keep it low-carb, low-sugar and high in fiber. Here are a few ways that you can substitute traditional foods in your Thanksgiving feast. 

  •     Instead of crackers and dips, try cheese and veggies. Use low-fat cheese and substitute crackers with bell peppers or zucchini.

 

  •     Instead of turkey with gravy, try herb-roasted turkey or keep the gravy on the side.

 

  •     Instead of stuffing made with white bread, try using a loaf of whole-grain bread.

 

  •     Instead of making lots of meat/bread options, try having a variety of vegetable dishes.

 

  •     Instead of cooking with white flour, try using coconut or almond flours.

 

  •     Instead of using sugary deserts, try something fruity. Maybe a Greek yogurt/fruit parfait.

The American Diabetes Association also has this list of healthy recipes for people with diabetes.  

Some other practical things you can do include using smaller plates that will make it easier for your guests to control their portions. MOST IMPORTANTLY,  instead of suggesting that your friend cheat on their diet “just this once,” be respectful and ask them how you could accommodate them best.

The holidays are a great time to celebrate togetherness and we hope that you have a wonderful season with your friends and family.

Revere Health is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare in all stages of life.

Sources:

Diabetes Quick Facts” Center for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html

“Recipes for Healthy Living” American Diabetes Association http://main.diabetes.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=437282.0&dlv_id=408606

“Managing Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/index.html

 

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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