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Eating healthily over the holidays doesn’t have to be a struggle.

If you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can still enjoy the foods you love while keeping your blood sugar in balance.

We asked Joanna Dydula, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, for some healthy holiday eating tips.

Use your intuition when you eat

Intuition is a feeling or sense of knowing that we all possess. Before you eat, use your intuition to check in with yourself and find out where your hunger is on a scale of 1 to 10. A rating of 1 means you’re starving while 10 means you’re uncomfortably full. For example, if your hunger is 6 or more, don’t force yourself to eat; instead, wait until you’re closer to 4 or 5.
Quick tip: Don’t let your hunger go below 3 or you are more likely to overeat.

Practise the plate method

Keeping track of your portions is easy with this method. The trick is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter of your plate with protein-containing foods (such as chicken or lentils) and the last quarter with carbohydrate-containing foods (such as whole-grain foods). This approach will help you get the right balance when planning your meals and will also help you manage your blood sugar levels. It will allow you to still enjoy some holiday favourites, too.

Eat mindfully

This is an opportunity to engage your senses.  Being mindful of the foods you eat encourages you to pay attention to the aromas, textures, flavours and taste of food. Pay attention to your likes and dislikes using these senses. This may help connect you to your eating experience and be more conscious of the foods you are eating. For more tips, visit How to be Mindful of Your Eating Habits 

Plan for changes to your schedule

Holiday meals may not be served at your usual mealtimes, so you may need to plan and eat a snack to prevent low blood sugar, especially if you take insulin or certain diabetes medications that can cause lows. Try not to skip meals or save up your carbohydrates for a later meal. This might make it more difficult to manage your blood sugar.

Keep tabs on your drinks

Alcohol and sugary beverages will affect your blood sugar levels. Pick sugar-free drinks, such as water, tea, or club soda, as often as possible. There are many flavoured sugar-free drinks and sugar-free alcoholic beverages, both with and without artificial sweeteners (artificial sweeteners can be safe in small amounts) on the market. Alcohol can increase your risks for low blood sugar.  Always consult your healthcare provider about alcohol and your health. 

Get moving

One of the best ways to lower your blood sugar is to help your body use it up! Exercise (such as brisk walking outdoors) engages more muscles at greater intensity, so more energy is consumed. This allows you to control your blood sugar more easily.

Look at the big picture

If you overeat at one meal, don’t worry and don’t give up. There’s always the next time: try to listen to your hunger and follow the plate method when planning your next meal.

Try this recipe

Loaded with fibre and lower in sugar, these BOOST Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins make it easy to eat healthy on the go this holiday season.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the sponsor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Diabetes Canada.

Author: Nestle Health Science

Category Tags: Healthy Living;

Region: National

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