Tips to help diabetics manage the holidays

The holiday season creates some challenging hurdles for those who have diabetes, but they shouldn’t ruin the fun if you plan ahead, according to diabetes expert at New York’s Stony Brook University.

“People living with diabetes can enjoy the holidays if they manage their disease wisely,” Joshua D. Miller, endocrinologist and diabetes expert at the university’s School of Medicine, said in the news release. Here are some tips to do just that:

Call your doctor: First, Miller said, make a holiday diabetes management plan with your doctor or dietitian. Let them help you figure out how to fit your favorite holiday treats into your meal plans.

Plan ahead: Especially during the holidays, it is important to pre-plan meals to control calories and carbohydrate content. “During a meal, having a protein and a fiber with your carbohydrate is a great way to control the post-meal high blood sugar that often occurs,” Miller said.

Speak up: Consider letting your host know that you have diabetes and that you might have some dietary requirements. Miller recommends the American Diabetes Association‘s website to find healthy holiday recipes. “There are plenty of ways to have a healthy, tasty meal that is ‘diabetes friendly’,” he said.

Drink alcohol in moderation: Depending on the type of beverage, alcohol  “can raise or lower your blood sugar within hours after consumption,” Miller said. He recommends monitoring blood sugars closely if you are drinking alcohol, limiting your intake to one or two servings, skip the mixers which are high in sugar, and talk to your doctor about possible side effects if you manage your insulin with insulin.

Manage your stress: Stress and inadequate sleep can impact blood sugar control, overall health and well-being in those who have diabetes. That’s why it is important to make sure you are monitoring your blood sugar regularly and to make sure you carve out some time to “de-stress,” Miller said.

Exercise: Keep up with your exercise routine through the business of the season, and as the weather gets cold. “All activity counts and improves both your mental and physical well-being,” says the release.

“And remember, the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is good health,” says the release. “So plan ahead, have a good action plan, and enjoy the season.”

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