Get Healthy Carson City: The holiday season and diabetes | NevadaAppeal.com

Get Healthy Carson City: The holiday season and diabetes

Celeste Pierini, RN, BSN
Carson City Health and Human Services

The holidays are almost here, and for many people this means delicious meals, treats and traveling to be with those we love. For others, the holidays might be a time of great concern if diagnosed with diabetes. If proper attention is given to monitoring and managing this disease, you can enjoy gatherings and parties along with everyone else. Carson City Health and Human Services has gathered the following tips to help you maintain your blood sugar and manage diabetes during the holiday season.

Make sure you don't skip meals prior to going to a party or buffet as this could contribute to difficulty controlling your blood sugar. Keeping your meals on schedule will ensure you don't overindulge while at the party and will help keep your blood sugar steady. If the party is later than your normal meal, eat a small healthy snack at your usual mealtime. Don't "save up" calories in order to eat high carbohydrate or sugary foods; this will only lead to blood sugar problems.

Checking your blood sugar consistently is the best way to manage blood sugar. During the hectic holiday season where travel, stress and excessive sweets and decadent foods are common, it might be wise to check blood sugar levels a few extra times in order to be aware of any changes. This will help guide your food choices.

Alcohol lowers blood sugar and may interact with your diabetes medications. Choosing sparkling waters or seltzers with fruit slices are good alternatives to celebrate the holidays. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount and have it with food.

Fill your plate with mostly vegetables and, if dips are available, chose a small amount or skip it all together. Filling up on these will help ensure you don't overeat. Once you have chosen your meal, eat slowly and savor each bite. If you're at a buffet, move away from the table after your plate is filled. It's OK to have the food you love, but in small amounts. For dessert, choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie as it has approximately one-third less sugar.

After your holiday feast, go out for a walk. This form of exercise won't only help to lower your blood sugar but is a wonderful way to visit with friends and family. You might want to consider exercising prior to attending a holiday party. This won't only contribute to lowering your stress, but it's another way to be proactive in the management of your diabetes.

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As always, consult with your health care provider for any diabetes management strategies during this holiday season. You and your provider will be able to best coordinate a diabetes plan so you can maintain your health and enjoy the holidays at the same time. Diabetes medications may need to be adjusted based on your blood sugar readings and your doctor can assist you with any questions.

Carson City Health and Human Services wishes you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season. For information about CCHHS services, please visit our website at http://gethealthycarsoncity.org/preparedness or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.