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A selection of fall foods

Managing Diabetes Around the Holidays

When you have diabetes it can be difficult to maintain your food plan once the holidays roll around. From Halloween to New Year’s Eve we’re faced with bowls of candy, parties, goodies and far too much food. It seems that any time there is something to celebrate we’re required to do so with food: decadent, sweet, carby food! So how can we attempt to manage our diabetes when confronted with mashed potatoes and stuffing or Aunt Margaret’s special dessert? Planning and determination.

It’s Halloween and you need to buy treats for the ghosts and goblins who come to your door. That’s cool, but it’s not easy to avoid that bowl of candy in between being tricked. You could, of course, hand out toothbrushes and dental floss or small toys but that can get expensive and who really does that? You can tell yourself not to eat the goodies but that isn’t easy to do. One thing I’ve done in the past is to buy a type of candy that I don’t like. Yes, there are some candies that I can do without. If I buy mini Reese’s PB cups, I’m doomed, but if I buy gummy worms or sour candies I won’t eat them. I don’t recommend that you stock up on sugar-free candies. That could be disastrous for you and the kids. Once Halloween is over, give the candy to someone you know or donate it to the local food bank. It will be appreciated and you won’t be faced with it for days.

I recall reading that the first two bites of anything are the most pleasurable. I don’t know how scientific that is but when I thought about it I decided that it’s mostly true. Think about that first bite of _____ (insert name of your favorite food. For me it would be cheesecake). It’s SO good that you revel in it… and then scarf down the rest without even thinking about it. Tip: don’t deprive yourself of a holiday treat, just eat a couple of bites. Slow down and enjoy that little bit. I know that’s hard to do, but you never know if you can do it until you try!

Don’t eat if you’re not hungry or your blood glucose is out of whack. I know that I have a hard time when faced with yummy food, regardless of whether or not I’m hungry. You don’t have to eat it just because it’s there. No, you don’t! Most parties and holiday events aren’t sit-down dinners. They’re usually buffets or snack foods. Have a drink, even if it’s just water and wait to eat when it fits more smoothly into your plan.

When you are at an event that is a sit-down dinner, like Thanksgiving, plan ahead and follow your plan. Use a smaller plate (it really does work) and mostly fill it with “safe” foods like salad, veggies or protein. Let yourself have a bit of something carby but keep it small. Eat slowly and enjoy the company. Focus on the people you enjoy, not on the food. That’s what it should be about anyway.

If you plan ahead, don’t completely deprive yourself, and focus on the people instead of the food, you can enjoy the holidays without wrecking your blood glucose. Give it a try; you’re worth it!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.