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Navigating the Holiday Season with Diabetes



Navigating the holidays comes with its own challenges without having to worry about how to maintain healthy blood sugar. How do you navigate the holiday season when you have diabetes without feeling overwhelmed by all the temptations? Diabetes affects approximately 25 million Americans, and nearly half live with some form of diabetes complications. The holidays bring added stressors, such as family gatherings, parties, and travel that can all complicate the management of good blood sugars. If you have diabetes, here are some tips to stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the festivities during the holidays.


4 Facts about Diabetes During the Holiday Season

  1. Holidays can lead to an increase in metabolic lab values, such as blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, and cholesterol.

  2. Lab values have been reported higher in December and January and continue to remain elevated months following holiday festivities.

  3. It is important to maintain levels during holiday feasts to avoid changes to medication regimens and increased risks of long-term effects.

  4. It can be difficult to get back to pre-holiday health, so start off the holidays in the right mind set to stay healthy all season long.


6 Tips to Keep Your Diet and Health on Course While Enjoying Holiday Food and Festivities

There is no denying that the holiday season is stressful, regardless of whether you have diabetes. There are lots of social events, food, and presents to celebrate. All these things can increase your chances of developing a serious illness or injury, especially if you have diabetes. Try these tips this holiday season to keep your diet and enjoy your holiday food!


1. Have a Plan

  • Eat close to normal mealtimes.

  • Bring a healthy option (veggie tray, salad, roasted veggies, low-carb casserole).

  • Reduce carbs on plate by filling plate with lean meat and vegetables before adding carbs.

  • Don’t skip a meal to feast later; this makes it hard to manage energy. Instead, try eating smaller meals throughout the day.


2. Don’t Get Caught in the Buffet Trap

  • Use a small plate to limit portion sizes.

  • Fill plate with healthy choices first.

  • Savor the holiday favorites. Don’t scarf them down to get another plate, but slow down and enjoy them.

3. Keep Moving

  • Be sure to get regular movement throughout the season. This could look like walking once a day, stretching every hour, or occasional toe taps on the couch. A little movement goes a long way!

4. Eat Slower

  • Eating slowly allows you to enjoy your favorite meals while taking time to savor the flavors.

  • Eating quickly can distract you from fullness cues and lead to overeating.

5. Get Rest

  • The holidays are exhausting enough with running around, so give your body a break and get plenty of rest to recharge and relax.

  • Plan for a regular bedtime most nights. When late nights are compounded, it can lead to irregular blood sugar, blood pressure, and added stress.

6. Consider Cooking at Home

  • Homemade food is easier to regulate the recipe than store-bought or processed food.


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Reviewed by

Sarah Ochs Annie Tribble Maggie Lewis

PharmD, CDCES, CSOWM PharmD, CDCES PharmD, CDCES







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