Diabetics, don’t let holidays get you

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2015

With Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal likely comes a bevy of sweets. While the rich food may be a diet buster for some, for diabetics the meal could create a problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, with another 86 million adults having prediabetes.

One in four people do not know they have the disease.

Managing diabetes is more that just avoiding candy and cookies.

“A diabetic is given lots of directions when they are diagnosed – lost weight, exercise regularly, change your diet and monitor your blood sugar frequently,” said Mizell Memorial Hospital Marketing Coordinator Kristen Averitt. “The diagnosis can be overwhelming to many patients. It also can be made more challenging during the holiday season when there is food loaded with carbs, tasty desserts and busy schedules that leave little time for exercise.”

Averitt suggested that people fill their plates strategically.

“You should fill your holiday plate as follows: half with veggies, one-quarter with carbs and one-quarter with lean meat, avoiding the dark meat and removing any skin,” she said.

Prepare for parties.

“Eat a healthy and filling snack before going to the party to help cut back on holiday treats,” she said.

Be active.

“Plan a family game or take a walk with a family member,” Averitt said.

Exercise portion control.

“If you must try something that is high in carbs or sugar, make sure to get a sample size,” she said.

Make a lighter version.

“Get creative and make your favorite holiday foods with substitutions, try fat-free or light versions, use less sugar, or other small substitutions,” Averitt said.

Other things one can do are:

• Limit alcohol consumption. Only drink in moderation and eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Avoid drinks with high calorie mixers or ones packed with extra sugar.

• Opt for fruit. Choose fruit over sweets at the dessert table. If you bring a baked good, consider recipes with reduced sugar or ones that use a sugar substitute.

• Test diligently. Now is the time to monitor your blood-sugar levels like a hawk. Monitor your levels more closely so you can see how holiday foods are affecting your levels and so you know if you need to make adjustments.

• Rebound quickly. Experts advise that if you go overboard on a particular day, get back on your feet the next. Exercise, revisit meal plans, and cut portion sizes.