With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's coming up in the next few months, it’s important to think ahead about how you’ll handle holiday meals. And it’s especially important for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range by eating a wide variety of nutritious and delicious foods — including lean protein from various sources, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and good fats (from foods like olive oil, nuts, and seeds, which are staples of the South Beach Diet lifestyle. In addition, the following healthy tips will help you stay on track this season:
a dish for the party.
Adhering to the healthy eating principles of the South Beach Diet whenever
possible is the best way to avoid blood sugar spikes. If you think a holiday
gathering you’re attending won’t include South Beach Diet–friendly fare, ask if
you can bring your own festive, seasonal dish for everyone to enjoy. Our The
South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook has plenty of great ideas.
moderation. To slow the absorption of alcohol,
make sure to drink with a meal, and be sure not to exceed the American Diabetes
Association’s recommendations for alcohol intake, which are the same as our South
Beach Diet guidelines: One drink a day for women and two a day for men once
you’re on Phase 2. Your best bet is to stick with a glass or two of red or
white wine or the occasional light beer and avoid sugary cocktails. And be sure
to use sugar-free mixers, like club soda, seltzer, or diet soda.
Take care with medications and alcohol. Alcohol
and diabetes can be a dangerous mix if you aren’t careful. Drinking on an empty
stomach directly after administering insulin or shortly after taking
glucose-lowering medications can lead to hypoglycemia (low-blood sugar), a
condition that can cause confusion, dizziness, or even loss of consciousness.
(These can also be symptoms of drinking too much.)
less. For some, the frenzy of the
holidays causes major stress. And stress, while harmful for healthy people, is
particularly detrimental for those with diabetes. Hormones released in response
to stress may inhibit the body’s ability to produce insulin, which, in turn,
causes blood sugar levels to soar. Manage your anxiety by carving out time for
a relaxing activity — something as simple as flipping through a
magazine, listening to music, or taking a walk may be enough — and be sure to prioritize your “to do” list so you don't take on too much at once.
regular exercise. The time
constraints of the holidays can make squeezing in a workout a challenge. Still,
getting consistent exercise — a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio
(ideally an interval workout) or core-strengthening exercises most days of the
week — is especially important if you have diabetes. If you're really
pressed for time, make several short bouts of activity during the day your goal.
- Monitor your condition. Making healthy eating decisions is important for weight loss and maintenance, but if you have diabetes, it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar to stay healthy. This is especially important before and after a big holiday meal.