The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax with family and celebrate life. But for too many of us, they become a time of stress and overindulgence.
The span between Thanksgiving and Christmas tends to be one packed with temptation. Every party boasts a bar full of high calorie cocktails. Every school concert features that delicious table of cookies along the back wall. And it’s the one time of years it seems normal for neighbors to just drop tins of candy on your doorstep.
That’s all wonderful, but for those struggling with weight issues or even people who are trying to eat healthy, the season can make the healthy choice a tough one.
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2 ½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
If you need a little help, follow these tips from the American Diabetes Association.
1. Focus on friends and family instead of food. Remember, the holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with your loved ones. Play games, volunteer, or spend time outdoors enjoying the weather together.
2. It’s a party, but don’t overdo it. Eat slowly, and really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrate that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings.
3. Eat before you eat. Don’t skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save” calories and carbs for the large holiday feast later on. If you skip meals, it will be harder to keep your blood glucose in control. Also, if you arrive somewhere hungry, you will be more likely to overeat.
4. Bring what you like. Don’t spend time worrying about what will be served. Offer to bring your favorite diabetes-friendly dish. If you count carbs, check your recipe’s nutrition facts so you know how big a serving is and how many carbs it has.
5. Drink in moderation. If you drink alcohol, remember to eat something beforehand to prevent low blood glucose levels later. Whether it’s a glass of red wine or a beer, holiday drinks can add a significant amount of calories to your holiday intake. Keep it to no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men.
6. Stay active. One reason that we have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time into each day for exercise and don’t break your routine. Make the holidays an active time!
7. If you overindulge, get back on track. If you eat more carbs or food than you planned for, don’t think you have failed. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you. Include extra exercise, monitor your blood glucose levels, and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day.
If you need more tips, you can find plenty at www.activateallencounty.com. And for some great, healthy holiday recipes, follow us in Pinterest. Just search for Activate Allen County.
Health tips courtesy of Activate Allen County will appear in this space every Monday.