Health & Wellness

7 Tips to Stay on Track with Your Diabetes Management During the Holidays

Group of people taking a selfie for the holidays

The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry! However, eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks can make it challenging to manage weight and blood glucose (blood sugar)—which might not leave you feeling merry. Here are seven tips you’ll need to survive this holiday season and stay on track with your diabetes management.

1: Prioritize Self Care

If you are hosting a holiday party, you likely have a big to-do list. This may include grocery shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, decorating, setting the table, and other hosting duties. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take care of yourself in the days leading up to the holiday party by keeping your blood glucose managed well, eating your meals on time, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and setting a reminder to take any medications. 

2: Bring a Healthy Dish to Share

If you are attending as a guest, you may have been assigned to bring an appetizer, side dish, entrée, or dessert. Instead of bringing a holiday staple (which tends to have sugary ingredients), this is your chance to bring something healthier to the table! A healthier version of traditional dishes will not only be great for you but for your family as well. To cut back on carbs and added sugar, try swapping out a traditional dish made with sugar for one made with a Splenda Granulated SweetenerSplenda Sugar Blend, or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. Or you can explore the hundreds of delicious recipes on Diabetes Food Hub®. Two great options are these Cherry Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookies and Cinnamon Roasted Carrots & Cranberries.

3: Avoid Skipping Meals

Some people may skip breakfast and lunch the day of a holiday to “save room” for the big holiday dinner. But for people with diabetes, this can have consequences. First, it can lead to blood glucose dips, especially if taking certain diabetes medications like insulin or a sulfonylurea. Second, it can lead to overeating at dinner, which can cause your blood glucose to spike.

You don’t necessarily need to eat a BIG breakfast or lunch the day of a holiday, but these meals should at least be balanced and well-spaced. Use the American Diabetes Plate Method as your guide as you plan your meals. For breakfast, try this Berry Oatmeal Crisp made with Splenda Granulated Sweetener, and for lunch, make a simple turkey sandwich paired with a Cucumber and Onion Salad. Another option is to replace your breakfast or lunch with a Splenda Diabetes Care Shake like this Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.

4: Practice Mindful Eating Over Mindless Eating 

Lingering around the food table can lead to mindless eating—eating when distracted, not hungry, or not being fully aware of what or how much you are eating. Unsurprisingly, the opposite of mindless eating is mindful eating. Mindful eating is being intentional about what you are taking from the food table. You are fully aware of the food—how it tastes and smells, its texture, and how it makes you feel. You are eating in response to hunger cues. 

5: Plan Out Your Plate

Regardless of whether the food is served from the kitchen (buffet-style) or from the table (family-style), you should scope out all your options before plating your food. Otherwise, you may end up with a heaping plate of starchy sides and very little protein and vegetables.

Be selective. Of course include your favorites, but ensure that you still watch your portion sizes. You can use the Diabetes Plate Method for guidance! Start by filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as these Roasted Baby Carrots or Crispy Baked Broccoli. Next, fill a quarter of your plate with protein, like this Baked Teriyaki Chicken. Finally, fill the last quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods, such as this Easy Half-Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower or “Sweet” Potato Fries.

6: Think About Your Drink

Drinks can be a major source of “hidden” calories and added sugars. That’s because they don’t feel as filling as food, so you may not realize how many calories and added sugars you’re consuming. For example, a regular 12-ounce cola contains around 140 calories and 40 grams of added sugars! That is more added sugar than a person should have in an entire day! Major sources of added sugars are sugary beverages. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 25 grams per day for most women and 36 grams per day for most men.*

Instead of sweetening your holiday tea or coffee with sugar, use Splenda Sweetener Packets or Splenda Sweetener Liquids. And if you like cream in your coffee, check out our Splenda Coffee Creamers, which come in three delicious flavors: French Vanilla, Sweet Cream, and Hazelnut. If you enjoy drinking water with your meal but want some flavor, try using Splenda Liquid Water Enhancers.

If you want to add a fun, flavorful drink to enjoy this holiday season, try this Almond Joy Hot ChocolateHazelnut Hot Cocoa, or Creamy Iced Vanilla Latte.

7: Move After the Meal

The last thing you should do after a big holiday meal is lay on the couch for long periods of time as this can lead to high blood glucose. Try to get up and move! Go for a walk with a family member or friend after the meal. Play in the leaves or snow with your children or grandchildren. Or play a game of flag football in the yard—the options are endless! Moving after a meal can help keep blood glucose levels stable and manageable. Just make sure to test your blood glucose before and after physical activity or as directed by your health care professional. Physical activity can affect people with diabetes’s blood glucose in different ways, so it’s always best to check in with your health care professional!

*American Heart Association. (2021). Added Sugars. 


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