Tips to Keep Diabetes in Check During the Holidays

iStock_000017193953_SmallThe holidays are a time for special celebrations, shopping, cooking, and festive foods. It’s easy to give into tempting sweets or eat on the run. In addition, the hustle and bustle can leave little time for exercise. While many can take this all in stride and simply plan to shed a few pounds in the new year, people with diabetes can have a particularly hard time managing during the holidays.

Keeping blood sugar under close control and making time each day for exercise, blood sugar monitoring, and foot checks can help prevent or delay complications from diabetes. This means you should pay extra attention to your diet and avoid overbooking your calendar with holiday events or preparations. With advance planning, you can enjoy festivities and keep diabetes in check during the holiday season.

Diet: Holiday gatherings often include a smorgasbord of sweets and special drinks such as cider, punch, or alcoholic beverages. Try eating a healthy snack such as raw vegetables shortly before any events. The snack will help fill you up so you won’t be tempted to eat large portions or fill up on sugary drinks.

Remember that alcohol can lower your blood sugar shortly after you drink it and up to 24 hours after. If your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink is fine. Light beer and dry wines have fewer calories and carbohydrates than other drinks.

Exercise: Regular physical activity helps lower your blood sugar, so check your calendar in advance and plan days and times for exercise. More strenuous workouts have a longer lasting effect on glucose levels, but even light activities such as housework can reap benefits.

Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise, and then check your levels before, during, and after exercise. Have a snack or glucose tablet with you during exercise in case it’s needed.

Blood Sugar Monitoring: Blood sugar monitoring is even more important if the holidays have caused you to change your meal schedule or diet. Readings before and about 2 hours after meal time will let you know if you need to adjust your insulin dosage. You’ll also be able to see how certain foods and activity levels are affecting your blood glucose levels.

To make tracking blood glucose more convenient, The American Diabetes Association offers a printable Blood Glucose Log and an online tracking tool called Diabetes 24/7.

Foot Checks: It’s especially important to your keep feet warm and dry to prevent infections or other foot complications. If you’re engaging in outdoor activities like Christmas caroling or playing in the snow, be sure you have socks that wick moisture and provide warmth as well as waterproof shoes or boots for snow. Don’t stay out too long if temperatures are below freezing since that can lead to frostbite. Also be sure to check your feet when you come inside to make sure they are dry.

Need Help Managing Your Diabetes?

If you have diabetes and your blood sugar isn’t well controlled despite your current efforts, you may benefit from an appointment with an endocrinologist, a physician who specializes in diabetes and other endocrine disorders. The Endocrinologists at LeBauer HealthCare can review your blood sugar levels, current medications, and lifestyle and help you create a plan to more closely manage your diabetes. Call 336-832-3070 to schedule your diabetes assessment appointment today.

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