Holiday parties and long-distance travel pose an extra challenge when you have diabetes. With healthy lifestyle choices and advanced planning, you can celebrate the winter holidays and manage your condition at the same time.
- Slim down favorite recipes. Experiment with putting less butter, sour cream, cheese, and sugar into your traditional dishes. Sprinkle on fresh herbs for flavor.
- Control portions. Enjoy a taste of the foods you love. Limit your portion sizes and chew slowly so you’ll be satisfied with less.
- Snack between meals. Munch on nuts, cut vegetables, and whole-grain cereals. It’s easier to resist temptation on a full stomach.
- Be selective about sweets. Think ahead to focus on which dessert is a must for you. A sliver of cherry pie beats grazing around the whole dessert buffet. Indulge in baked fruit and sugar-free candy.
- Limit alcohol. Some cocktails pack a lot of calories and any alcohol can weaken your willpower. Most experts advise up to one drink a day for women and two for men. Sip water or tea instead.
- Take a walk. When your schedule gets hectic, you can still squeeze in a walk. Check out the decorations on your neighbor’s houses after dinner or visit a park early in the morning.
- Design home workouts. If there’s little time to get to the gym, find activities you can do at home. Jump rope or borrow an exercise video from your local library.
- Make family outings more active. Take everybody out for an afternoon of ice skating or cross-country skiing. If you prefer indoor events, visit a yoga studio.
- Pack extra medication. Fill your suitcase with twice as much medication as you expect to need. There could be heavy traffic and long airport delays.
- Bring along pertinent information. Stick a written note in your pocket or handbag with your medical insurance and doctor’s contact information. Ensure your syringes and insulin are in their original pharmacy packaging with their preprinted labels.
- Advise others of your condition. Let at least one person know you have diabetes. Mention it to a travel companion or the flight attendant.
- Keep your insulin cool. Insulin overheats easily. Put it in an insulated bag with cooling gel packs.
- Move around. Sitting for a long time can increase your risk of blood clots. On car rides, take breaks every couple of hours to walk around. Walk the aisle on a plane or rotate your ankles occasionally.
- Eat right. Ask the airline for a diabetic meal or prepare your food. Use an insulated bag to bring yogurt, baby carrots, and whole-grain pitas.
- Check international regulations. Prescription laws vary by country. Let your doctor know your destination if you have any concerns.
- Check your blood glucose more frequently. Any changes in your daily routine can affect your blood glucose level. Monitor your blood sugar more often during the winter holidays.
- Gather your family health history. Like many conditions, family history plays a big part in diabetes. Use family gatherings to find out if your relatives have similar health issues and support each other in getting the care you need.
- Talk with your doctor. It’s always important to talk with your doctor and health care team about your individual needs. They can advise you about modifying your diet and other ways to manage your health issues.
Effectively managing your diabetes lets you enjoy all the festivities of the winter holiday season without compromising your health. Keeping yourself in top condition is a wonderful gift for yourself and your loved ones.