From Halloween to New Year’s: Tips for Celebrating With Diabetes
By Joan Bardsley, MBA, BSN, RN, CDE For someone with type 2 diabetes, managing to enjoy all of the celebrations of the season can seem hard. The Halloween tradition of getting – and eating – candy is just around the corner, followed by the holiday food spiral of Thanksgiving, December holiday parties, the holidays themselves, and then New Year’s Eve. But our message is clear: Type 2 diabetes will not stop you from enjoying the holidays! Below are some tips from the American Association of Diabetes Educators. But the first tip is this: See a diabetes educator. These are nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who have additional expertise as diabetes educators. They provide education so that people with diabetes can successfully self-manage their condition. Diabetes self-management is built around seven core behaviors: Healthy eating, being active, monitoring blood glucose, taking medication, problem-solving, reducing risks, and coping in healthy ways. Every year, as we begin the “eating season,” the needs of people with type 2 diabetes are increasingly understood and accepted. This is because diabetes is an epidemic (everyone knows someone), and healthy eating has become more common. More and more, people want to eat healthy as much as they can. *Halloween: Don’t Be Tricked by Tempting Treats Even adults will be tempted by Halloween candy. The best thing for anyone with type 2 diabetes is to make a plan. Candy can be tempting if it’s in the house, but try other options such as popcorn, sugar-free or low-carb candy, or something homemade, so that the ingredients are known. If you do have candy, choose the fun-size rather than the full-size to eat. Know how much candy you plan to eat right away or save for later and then have fun. Thanksgiving: Give Thanks to Sticking With Your Goals Eat breakfast or snacks earlier in the day as you normally do. If you skip meals, it may be harder to control your blood sugar. Manage the number of servings of starchy foods on your plate. Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and rolls could be hard to resist; however, try to choose just one of these items. Or, just take a few spoonfuls or bites of each. After your meal, take a walk with family and friends. Exercise will get you moving, keep you focused on your goals, and give you a welcome break from being surrounded by treats. Exercise is also a great way to lower blood sugar levels. *Holiday Parties: Healthy Celebrating Does Not Have to Be a Buzzkill Holiday buffets are notorious for tempting people into overindulging on less healthy eats. But knowing how to navigate the buffet is key. Choose fruits and vegetables served raw, grilled, or steamed. Avoid vegetables in creams, gravies, and butter. Stick to calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, seltzer, or diet sodas instead of punch or mixed drinks. The holidays can also mean travel, so remember to regularly check your blood sugar. Adding a few extra checks on a party day may help guide your choices. *New Year’s Eve: Ring in a New Year Where You Are in Control What’s a New Year’s toast without the clinking of champagne glasses? If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount and have it with food. Talk with your diabetes educator about whether alcohol is safe for you. Women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage a day and men should drink no more than two. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take small portions, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture. The most important focus should be on enjoying the holidays. Remember to manage the stress that often comes with the holidays, and spend time with family and friends, or some time alone. You are in control!