Posted 29 November 2022 at 2:00 pm
By Chrissy Krueger RN, RD, CDN, CDCES, Diabetes Education & Care Specialist, Oak Orchard Health
As a Diabetes Educator, at Oak Orchard Health, I hear a lot about the anxiety and stress of overeating during the holidays. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another seasonal holiday, learning to eat healthy during this time can be a challenge – but you can do it. Keep in mind that each holiday represents just one day, and you can get back on your healthy meal plan the next day.
Here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays feeling good about yourself.
Start by preparing in advance.
If the party is not at your home, consider asking the hostess if you can help by bringing a dish to pass. That dish will be a healthy one for you and delicious for others. That’s your “go-to” dish when you’re feeling hungry or other options are not too appealing.
Skipping meals before the holiday dinner isn’t a good idea.
Skipping meals can result in moodiness or irritability. For some, it can also lead to low blood sugar. You should not get yourself so hungry that you will eat anything and everything! Try to eat regularly throughout the day, maybe smaller meals than usual, but do eat breakfast and lunch.
Re-think the holidays.
Why are you gathering? To be with family and friends? Sharing experiences with each other? The point is that holidays aren’t just about food. In fact, after eating your meal, avoid lingering near the holiday spread. Go into another room to mingle. Also, consider taking a walk with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
Avoid taking leftovers home.
Unless a loved one was unable to attend and you want to bring them some treats, avoid bringing leftovers home. If you’re the hostess, don’t make too much food and if you do, have a plan for giving it away to your guests or a local senior center or food shelter.
Don’t give up your healthy lifestyle.
Often people use Thanksgiving as a reason to start overeating throughout the holiday season. Try to think of each holiday as a one-day event and get back on track with your healthy habits the next day. You’ll feel better!
Whether you have diabetes or not, these are great guidelines on how to fill your plate. A good rule of thumb is that half your plate should contain non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower, a quarter of the plate with protein, and a quarter with carbohydrates. Riced cauliflower is very popular and can be substituted for mashed potatoes – or make half the mashed potatoes with real potatoes and the other half with riced cauliflower. Your guests won’t know the difference!
If you have room for dessert, try to limit your portion sizes. An eighth of a pie or 2” square of cake can be enough. If you’re going to bring a dessert, choose one that has fewer carbohydrates and sugar. People with diabetes can eat desserts but it’s all about the size of the portion. The smaller the better.
Always carry a glass of water.
Having a glass of water and sipping it throughout the day will help you avoid picking on food. This will also help to reduce your alcohol consumption.
No thank you.
Be comfortable saying no thank you when offered another portion. Those who truly love you will not change their mind based on how much or what you eat!
Holidays are not just for eating.
If you’re the hostess, you can plan to do something with your guests like playing games or taking a walk. Plan to have everyone step away from the table and go to another room to play a game like charades or a card game. The more active the better.
If you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get back on track. Take a walk the next day and start eating healthy again. Remember, don’t skip meals either!
If you need help managing diabetes, are interested in nutrition and/or incorporating a healthy lifestyle, contact Oak Orchard Health and ask how to be referred to the nutrition diabetes care specialist. Happy holidays!