Tips to Keep Diabetes in Check During Festive Season
For people who have diabetes, their main priority is to keep their HbA1C levels in control at all times. But with the festive season beckoning just around the corner, it’s easy to get carried away and indulge in your favorite snacks and sugar-laden sweets. Research shows that during the holiday season, there is invariably a 15% spike in the blood sugar fasting normal range when compared to the normal days, and no points for guessing, this owes to a lack of dietary restriction during this period. However, don’t be disheartened, with careful planning and healthier nutritional swaps you can enjoy the festivities with your loved ones, without having to worry about your elevated blood sugar levels.
- Chalk out a plan ahead of time: The best way to keep a check on your blood sugar levels is to have a strategy for your meal before you attend any gathering. For example, make conscious choices of low-calorie snacks and meals when you are going out for a family dinner at a restaurant. If you are visiting someone’s place and you are unsure what is going to be served, it’s best to carry your snacks like dry fruits and crackers to avoid being beige eating the deep-fried snacks.
- Never skip meals: If you are diabetic skipping meals can be dangerous because it can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which can also prove to be dangerous. We know that with festival season around, you have a lot of running around to do, but make it a rule to have your meals on time. A good way is to break your 3 meals into 4 to 5 meals throughout the day. This will help you regulate the normal sugar level after food, and stay nourished at all times.
- Drink water: Staying hydrated all day long will help you better control your blood sugar levels and metabolism. Isn’t this quite straightforward? During festivals, it’s common to consume alcohol, we recommend that you try to avoid it as much as possible, but if you don’t have a choice then stick to only a drink or two. A smart way is to keep topping up your drink with water that continues to dilute the alcohol. Replace sugar-rich cool drinks, and mocktails because these can spike your blood sugar levels instantly and ruin your plan to manage your diabetes. Go with healthier options like coconut water, fresh lime soda, and buttermilk.
- Watch out for the bakery products: During the festive season, you seem to be receiving never-ending supplies of snack hampers that also contain cookies, cakes, pastries, and biscuits. These bakery products are made of refine-flour and have oodles of butter, cream, and margarine. All of these ingredients are high in trans fatty acids and saturated fats. They are calorie dense and they have a high glycemic index which means that they can be broken down quickly by your body which in turn can cause a rapid increase in your blood sugar levels. Fill yourself with fruits, and vegetables, that will help you replenish the lost vitamins and minerals, which is common in diabetic patients.
- Regular medication and monitoring: During the festive season it’s easy to fall prey to being lazy and distracted. But remember as a diabetic patient your blood sugar levels are not taking a holiday, and hence it’s imperative to take your prescribed medications and insulin like you routinely do. Keep the blood sugar testing machine always at home so that you can continuously monitor and take necessary action in case the levels are elevated.
- Stay active: Apart from mindful eating during festivals, it’s important to focus on staying active and fit. If you are unable to hit the gym, then make time for simple physical activities like walking, playing sports with your family or children, walking your dog, dancing, etc which will help you keep on your toes.
- Get back on track: Remember that we are all humans and it’s ok if you have given in to your temptations and indulged in some sweets and snacks. Don’t beat yourself down for this, rather stay calm and get back on track with your diet and exercise as soon as the festival ends. If needed meet your doctor for a check-up and expert advice.
While it’s acceptable to indulge a little during the festivities, the key here is to have everything in moderation so that you can maintain your blood sugar levels at an ideal range. If you love desserts, then switch to using stevia or erythritol to prepare sweets that you can enjoy guilt-free. Simple tricks like storing sweets and snacks in opaque jars are effective to keep these things out of sight and also out of your mind.