Skip to main content
Back to The Full Scoop

Tips for managing diabetes throughout the holidays

For those managing diabetes, the holidays can be a difficult time. However, it is still possible to be merry and bright this holiday season by following these five tips.

October 26, 2023

Tips for managing diabetes throughout the holidays

The holiday season is here! If you’re like many people with diabetes, you’re thinking about food and festivities… and how to keep your blood sugar in check amidst all the celebrations.

Try these five quick tips for successful diabetes management during the holiday season.

1. Keep your stress levels low.

Holidays can be a stressful time; and people with diabetes must keep their stress levels at bay, as stress can cause blood glucose levels to spiral out of control. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) adds that individuals with diabetes who are under stress may not take good care of themselves — drinking more or exercising less, and they may also forget to check their glucose levels or plan good meals. This holiday season, learn to better manage your stress with exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, conversation and laughter.

2. Control your portions.

With so many tasty and tempting options at holiday time, portion control can be difficult. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on the amount of food you eat since eating too much can affect your blood sugar levels.

Divide your plate into four portions:

  • Fill one quarter with a lean protein
  • One quarter with a carbohydrate
  • The last half with green vegetables and other non-starchy vegetables

Avoid veggies that are drowned in oil, butter, heavy dressings or sauces — they may be loaded with sugar and carbohydrates.

3. Plan your snacks

At holiday gatherings, you never know what food will be served or when it will be offered. So, you may want to check in with your host prior to an event to determine if healthy options are readily available.

4. Don't overindulge in holidays spirits

While most people with diabetes can enjoy alcohol in moderation, it's important to remember that alcohol contains both sugar and carbohydrates, and not all drinks are created equal. Beer, for example, may be high in carbohydrates, whereas cocktails can contain lots of sugar.

Too much alcohol can lower blood sugar levels for people with diabetes who take insulin. This can result in hypoglycemia. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting alcohol. Men can have two drinks or fewer a day. For women, they can have one drink or less in a day.

5. Incorporate exercise

Regular physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes or prediabetes. The ADA recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Exercise can lower your blood glucose during a workout and for up to 24 hours after. Plus, the more you exercise, the better your body becomes at processing glucose. This helps your insulin sensitivity increase.

Exercise can include:

  • A brisk winter walk or walk in the mall
  • A cardio class at the gym
  • An at-home workout video

The holidays should be a time of joyful gatherings, reflection and fun. Although managing diabetes can be challenging, throughout this season and all year long, remain mindful of your choices and behaviors and prepare for a healthy new year.

Mom's Meals® can help

In the balance: Managing Diabetes Through Nutrition

For individuals with prediabetes and diabetes, Mom's Meals offers diabetes-friendly menu choices that are based on standards from the American Diabetes Association. Our registered dietitians are available to answer your questions about nutrition and ingredients.

Find out how maintaining a nutritious diet has been shown to help prevent, manage and even reverse the progression of diabetes, as well as other chronic conditions that can affect an individual’s health.