10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays 

10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays 

10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays
10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays
10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays

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10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays

The most exciting time of the year

We all love the holiday season. In the Philippines, we have a unique tradition of celebrating the Christmas holidays in the “ber” months - all the months that end in “ber”. The festivities start as early as September 1st until the Feast of Three Kings on January 6th, making it the most extended Christmas celebration in the world1.

If you have diabetes, monitoring blood sugar is always top of your mind. However, delicious treats and indulgent dishes beckon at every turn during the holiday season. It can be even more of a challenge to keep your blood sugar levels steady. You need the right strategy to help you make better choices while still enjoying the time with family and friends. 

10 Tips to Manage Blood Sugar During the Holidays

1. Plan Ahead
Before you get to any event, have a plan for what you'll eat. Looking at restaurant menus ahead of time is also a good way to help lower your calorie and sugar intake. And if the event is at a friend's house, ask the host what they're planning to serve. Then, while you're at it, offer to bring a healthy dish that complements their meal.

2. Don't Skip Meals
Skipping breakfast can negatively impact your nutrient intake and blood glucose and increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. If you are too busy to sit down for a meal, consider preparing portable meals and snacks for these grab-and-go kinds of days!

3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated and drinking water is essential for our overall health and well-being, but research shows it may also help with weight and cholesterol management. Researchers found that drinking more water is associated with eating fewer calories, as well as less sugar and salt2. While more studies are needed to confirm this, researchers believe that drinking more water may reduce the temptation to consume sugar-sweetened drinks.

4. Be Smart About Carbs
Foods rich in carbohydrates can provide a lot of good nutrients. But compared to fats and protein, carbs have the most significant impact on blood sugar. So choose your carbs wisely and opt for whole grains and low glycemic index foods — carbohydrates that have less impact on blood sugar levels — whenever possible. Diabetes-specific meal or snack replacements, such as Glucerna®, is always a good option. Composed of blends of carbohydrates designed to minimize blood sugar spikes, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, and with up to 228 calories per serving2, they're a smart, portion-controlled choice to keep in your arsenal.

In contrast, foods with a high glycemic index and glycemic load cause blood sugar to increase rapidly, which causes spikes in blood sugar. Therefore, aim to limit refined and processed carbohydrates and choose fiber-rich whole foods, such as apples, carrots, beans, and cashews.

5. Pay Attention to Portions
It's not just what you eat; it's how much of it, too. When looking to manage your blood glucose, here are some simple guidelines to keep in mind for healthy portions:

  • One cup = a fist
  • 3 ounces = palm of your hand  
  • One tablespoon = thumb

6. Lighten Up
Most traditional holiday recipes can be made healthier with simple substitutions. For example, instead of white rice, swap it with brown rice, and make your own light dip using garlic, ginger, basil, chili peppers, and kalamansi.

7. Slow Down
Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach and let you know that you're full? Eating slowly can help you recognize that you feel full before you overeat, meaning you will consume fewer calories. To help slow down your eating, chew slowly, place your utensil down, or take a sip of water between bites.

8. You Can Have Dessert, But …
If dessert matters to you, plan for it. Eat fewer carbs beforehand so you can enjoy a piece of Buko pie later. The pie will probably be high glycemic index carbs, so be mindful of your portion size and consider skipping the sugary toppings.

9. Keep Moving
Although most holiday gatherings revolve around sharing a meal, consider adding more physical activities to the festive agenda. For example, a game of tag or hide and seek outside can be a fun tradition, such as going on a family walk after mealtime.

10. Don't Beat Yourself Up
If a food setback happens despite your efforts, don't give up. Instead of feeling guilty about it, focus on getting back on track at your next meal. 

Even when tempting goodies are around every corner, staying healthy while monitoring blood sugar during the holiday season with the right strategy is still possible. So plan, be mindful, and cut yourself some slack, so you can eat, drink and be merry with your loved ones.

When should you eat?

The best way to manage your blood sugar is to eat small, frequent meals at regular times every day. Start with breakfast and then space out your meals 4 to 5 hours apart with a healthy snack in between to keep blood sugar at a normal level. Don’t skip meals. 


2 Glucerna Triple Care. Nutrition For People With Diabetes. (abbottfamily.com.sg)

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