Tips for managing diabetes throughout the holidays

Posted on Monday, November 14, 2022

Thanksgiving is just around the corner with multiple other holidays quickly following—like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s! If you’re like many people with diabetes, you’re thinking about food and festivities…and how you’ll keep your blood sugar in check amidst all the celebrations. Here are 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 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 downright 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. When plating your food, divide it into four portions: fill one quarter with a lean protein, one quarter with a carbohydrate, and the remaining 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. If you take insulin or other medications, you may need to adjust eating times to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Consider packing a small snack for yourself or offer to bring a healthy appetizer for sharing.

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. For people with diabetes who take insulin, too much alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, resulting in hypoglycemia. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting alcohol to two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women.

5. Incorporate exercise 

Regular physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes or dealing with prediabetes, so make sure you’re following the American Diabetes Association’s recommendation of getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. And make sure it continues all year round. Regular 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 –– and your insulin sensitivity increases. This season, try ice skating, skiing, or brisk winter walking. Not your speed? Join a cardio class at the gym or opt for 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.

Did you know that Mom’s Meals offers a diabetes-friendly menu?

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.

Which one best describes you?

Arranging meal delivery for myself I'm an Individual or Caregiver

We are experiencing higher than average call volume. We encourage you to place your order online.

back to top