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Healthy Holiday Eating for Diabetics

November 02, 2011

Tips for People with Diabetes and Others Trying To Eat Healthy During the Holiday Season


Ware, MA (November 2, 2011) - The Holiday season, it is quickly approaching.   Many diabetics look ahead to the holiday season with mixed feelings, so much great food, but so many diet restrictions. 


“Overeating during the holidays can be especially problematic for people with diabetes,” said Alicia Walter, MS RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.  “Holiday eating can lead to a weight gain of as much as 5 to 10 pounds in a few short months.  These unwanted pounds can increase high blood sugar levels and lead to real health problems.”     

‘Having diabetes shouldn't stop you from enjoying holiday celebrations,” notes Walter.  Planning now, before the holidays arrive can help you to commit to a healthy season while you enjoy the season packed full of cheer and holiday parties.”


Walter suggests these healthy holiday eating tips for diabetes:   


Keep Counting Carbs- Carb (carbohydrate) counting can be a great way to control blood glucose levels and weight.  If you’re going to attend a holiday dinner offer to bring a dish, such as dessert, that you know the carbohydrate content. 


Make One Trip to the Buffet Table - make only one trip to the buffet table and remember to load up on salad and vegetables first.  Avoid creamy dressings, foods with breading and condiments that are high calories and fat. 


Socialize Away from the Table - The most popular socialization area is usually in the kitchen or near the food table. Many times people talk and eat, without realizing what they are consuming. This is a dangerous behavior that can lead to overeating and surprisingly high blood glucose levels.


Bring your own beverage - Bring your own carbohydrate-free beverage if you don't want to have plain water and aren't sure whether diet or sugar-free drinks will be offered.    Limit or avoid alcohol- Studies have shown that alcohol stimulates food intake and can also increase feelings of hunger. Having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure if you are trying to follow a diabetic diet or weight-loss plan.


Continue Exercise and Record Keeping - Exercise is important especially during the holidays. Find a way to work physical activity into your schedule, whether it is with a quick exercise video, mall walking, or a trip to the gym. This will really help keep your blood glucose levels controlled and decrease weight gain.


Join a support group - Many people find it helpful to talk to other people with diabetes to find out what they do when they have a problem. You can find out, for example, what others do to make better food choices during the holidays or how they fit exercise into a busy day.


“Great success can happen when you have the support from family, friends and from other people with diabetes,” said Walter. 


The Baystate Mary Lane Hospital Diabetes Support Group meets the first Wednesday of every month from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Main Conference Room located on the second floor of the hospital.   Meetings are open to community members who have diabetes, their families and anyone who is interested in learning more about diabetes.   Registration is not required, for more information contact Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator at 413-967-2296.