This article was originally published in Diabetes Health in December, 2004.
Sometimes happy holiday dreams and dazzling parties turn into nightmares of stressful schedules, impulse eating and battered blood glucose. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or the winter solstice, bountiful food and holiday stress can affect your festive mood and your health.
Instead, why not strive for balance and bliss this holiday season by simplifying activities and planning ahead?
As you write out your holiday wish list, take a few moments to create a plan for a simple and healthful holiday. This can help you maintain your diabetes management while avoiding holiday weight gain and blood glucose swings.
Set aside time for your diabetes self-management routines.
Here are some tips for not just surviving the holidays but for improving your habits:
- Maintain your blood glucose monitoring routine. Monitor more often if you’re eating frequently or at irregular times.
- Follow your diabetes nutrition meal plan. Some people find that keeping a food journal during the holidays can help them avoid overeating. For others, a food journal takes too much time. Do whichever works best for you.
- Stay active. Toting shopping bags, tromping through the malls and decorating can all add steps to your schedule. However, it’s important to continue your regular activity routine. Exercise reduces stress, burns excess calories and helps control blood glucose levels.
- Pamper yourself. Whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, curling up with a cozy book or indulging in a manicure or massage, carving out time for yourself during the holidays can help prevent holiday stress from building up.
- Simplify holiday activities. Consider catering your holiday gathering; having gifts wrapped at the time of purchase or choosing gift bags over traditional wrap; accepting only a limited number of holiday invitations; moving family celebrations to a different, less hectic time of year; or hiring a cleaning service to free up some extra time.
- Get plenty of rest. Prevent holiday fatigue by getting an eight-hour snooze each night.
Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season full of love, low on stress and packed with special memories.
How to Decrease the Sugar in Your Favorite Holiday Recipes
- Use less sugar when preparing your holiday favorites.
- Use sugar-free gelatins or puddings for dessert.
- Substitute Splenda or non-nutritive low-calorie sweeteners for sugar.
- Substitute diet soda in punches and slushes for lower-carbohydrate and calorie options.
- Check out a diabetic cookbook from your local library.