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Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season While Managing Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month and also the start of the holiday season. With a little planning and guidance, you can partake in and enjoy the festivities with your family and friends—which likely include eating— all while managing your blood sugar and keeping your health on track. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Every Day

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can tire anyone out. It’s important to get enough sleep each day so you can be energized for holiday fun. Most people do best with seven to nine hours of sleep each day.

It’s also important to drink plenty of fluid throughout the day. When it’s chilly outside, hydration may not be top of mind and you may not think to drink as much water as your body actually needs. Aim for at least eight ounces of water every few hours. Along with hydration, nutrition is vital. Pack snacks to take along with you on hectic days when you may be out of the house for a while and be sure to make a point to eat throughout the day. Low-sodium soup and a piece of fresh fruit are good options.

Making time for regular exercise is another way to keep your body healthy year round. Taking a brisk 15-minute walk is a great way to get your heart pumping and manage the stress of the holiday season while burning off extra calories.

While Traveling

If traveling by plane, be sure to pack your diabetes medications and blood glucose testing supplies in your carry-on luggage. The cold temperature in the cargo section of the plane can cause insulin to freeze and test strips to malfunction. If you are going on a long road trip, pack extra snacks that are easily accessible in the car when you need a snack break.

While Socializing

Enjoy the flavors of the holiday season, but try to do so in a healthy way. Rather than eating a pumpkin spice donut, add a little cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice to oatmeal or steel cut oats for a nutritious start to your day.

When planning or attending a party, offer to bring a dish that is diabetes-friendly. A zesty guacamole dip with fresh cut veggies is a dish guests will enjoy. Roast autumn and winter vegetables to add a delicious and nutritional boost to your meals while taking advantage of in-season produce.

If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. The American Diabetes Association defines moderation as one drink per day for a woman and no more than two drinks per day for a man. “One drink” is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

“You can certainly enjoy holiday traditions and meals; you just need to plan and be conscious of your decisions,” explains Eileen Sturner, manager, Diabetes Center of Abington - Jefferson Health. “Whether diabetes is a new diagnosis for you, or you have been living with it your entire life, our experts can help you create a plan to manage your health as best as possible, year round.”

The Diabetes Center of Abington - Jefferson Health is committed to providing comprehensive diabetes education and counseling services for all aspects of diabetes management. Learn more about the Diabetes Center.

Fresh Guacamole Recipe

Mash two ripe avocados; a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro, one chopped and seeded tomato and a small pinch of salt. Mix well and enjoy.

Roasted Vegetables Recipe

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Place two to three cups of seasonal vegetables on a baking sheet and toss with two teaspoons of olive oil. Try roasting beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips and onions for about 30 minutes or until tender.

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