If you have diabetes, it is sometimes difficult to maintain your blood glucose within the target range set by your doctor. Some careful thought and planning can go a long way to help you manage your blood glucose and still have a good time around the holidays.
Eating during the holidays should be no different from the way you eat every day if you eat a moderate amount of foods that are high in nutrients and low in fat and calories.
Before the holidays begin, create daily, healthy eating habits. Establishing daily habits early will help you make wise eating choices during the holidays. Follow these tips to start a healthy routine:
— Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Include whole grains, fruit, low-fat dairy and protein;
— Choose vegetables and fruits that have a variety of colors;
— Eat whole grains;
— Choose a variety of proteins like seafood, chicken, turkey and beans;
— Watch your portion sizes.
Parties are popular during the holidays and can cause unhealthy eating. Try not to arrive at the party hungry. Don’t skip meals during the day to “save” calories and carbs. Don’t rush to eat at the event; spend time socializing first. When you do eat, use small plates, and fill them with healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, when socializing, do not stand near a table with food; this will help you avoid unnecessary nibbling.
Remember, there are lots of sweets and desserts during the holidays, and these foods often contain carbs and fat with few other nutrients. Try substituting fruit as dessert. Fruit is sweet and has fewer calories than most desserts. If using fruit as a dessert keep within one serving size for the particular fruit. When cooking, use vanilla or cinnamon to act as a sweetener. This flavoring will add sweetness without a lot of carbs. Also you can split a dessert with a friend or try bringing your own diabetes-friendly dish to the party.
For more information on eating healthy during the holidays, visit the American Diabetes Association website, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/holiday-meal-planning/
THE HOLIDAYS AS A CAREGIVER
Caregiving can be stressful, and these stresses can be intensified around the holidays as you are faced with added responsibilities and obligations. Whether this is your first holiday season as a caregiver or you have been providing care for years, you can do several things to make the holidays easier on you, the person you’re caring for and your extended family and friends by following the recommendations below.
— Plan ahead. Shop for gifts and food, and plan your holiday schedule well in advance. While social activity is healthy, too much during the busy holiday rush may increase stress.
— Prepare your guests. This may be the first time family and friends will see their loved one after a change in health or since you became the caregiver. Celebrate the holidays where the person you are caring for resides.
— Start new traditions. Sometimes caregiving situations force changes in holiday traditions. Stay positive and don’t feel guilty that you may have to make some adjustments.
— Ask for help. There is no better gift than the gift of giving. Most people are happy to help and will be glad you asked.
— Take time for yourself. Take a break from caregiving and holiday planning to do something for just you.
Most importantly, be thankful. Be thankful for your family and friends, and for the opportunity to be a caregiver — one of the most important jobs in the world. While it can be stressful, it can also be a rewarding experience that provides you with quality time that lends to building or strengthening relationships with someone you care about.
For more information, contact the Harlan Cooperative Extension Service at 573-4464. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.