Get Ready for the "Season of Eating"

Lighting a jack-o-lantern on Halloween reminds me of the opening ceremony torch lighting at the Olympic Games – it symbolizes the beginning of a great competition. But, this competition is a nine week showdown between us and food. Yes, we have started the holiday season, that period between Halloween and New Year’s that I like to call “the season of eating.” From left-over treats to a January 1st black-eyed peas breakfast we are confronted at every turn with food, food and food.

Here are five strategies for managing the holidays and your diabetes without missing out on the celebrations:

  1. Avoid temptation – the simple truth is that we will mindlessly eat significantly more when food is in plain sight. So, don’t leave left over Halloween candy or Christmas cookies on the kitchen counter, and avoid the office break room on “pie day.” That doesn’t mean never have a holiday snack – it means we make sure our snacking is a conscious decision.
  2. Eat your meals on the “holiday.” In other words, don’t skip meals in order to save up for the holiday meal. It's best to maintain your normal routine of eating (i.e. breakfast, lunch and possibly a snack if dinner will be late that evening). Maintaining a routine schedule will help maintain your blood glucose levels as well.
  3. Holiday party host or guest? In either case, you have the opportunity to be in control of some of your food choices. If you're the host of the party, make sure to offer a variety of food, both traditional higher calorie fixings and lower calorie choices so you and your guests will have a variety of food selections. If you are the guest to a holiday dinner, bring a dish to share that's a healthy choice and guarantees at least one good choice for you to select.
  4. So much food, and so little time. Making your food choice during a holiday dinner can be overwhelming. Make your food choice a two step process: 1) survey the options on the table and 2) eat what you crave. Eat those special holiday foods that show up once a year (like Thanksgiving stuffing), and pass on corn or bread.
  5. Add a new tradition – be active. Start a tradition based on activity, like going on a family walk or playing touch football or tag. If the weather is too cold or you aren’t able to be that active, enlist as the clean-up crew after the meal. Helping to clear the table, wash or dry dishes will help burn some calories.

Don’t let the “season of eating” become the season of regret. You can enjoy all that this wonderful time of year has to offer with a little planning and some small changes, and hit 2016 with a gold medal.

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