CHRISTMAS AND DIABETES MANAGEMENT

December 23, 2017

Eating at Christmas is part of the fun, and there’s no need to completely miss out on certain foods. But a healthy diet is important for managing diabetes, so if you have the condition then you can always consider having healthy versions of classic Christmas dishes.

Keeping discipline to control sugar levels and portions can be particularly difficult.

So for those of us for who willpower doesn’t come too easily, here are our tips for enjoying sensible eating at Christmas.

Commit yourself to a food plan

  • It’s very easy to get carried away by what’s on the table.
  • To reduce the chance of this happening plan how much you intend to eat and make a point of sticking to it.
  • If you’re not cooking, find out what will be served in advance.
  • It’s best to make this plan at a time when you’re not hungry as hunger can distort your judgement.

Avoid feeling hungry for too long

  • One way to avoid being ravenous is to break the delay. Protein and/or non-starchy vegetable based pre-meal snacks are a good choice as they are filling and slowly broken down.
  • Have a glass of water before eating. Having a glass of water before you start your meal is an easy and effective way of reducing your food intake; it makes you feel full earlier on, thus reducing your appetite.

Base your meal on non-starchy vegetables

  • Vegetablesare the staple of sensible eating. Make sure that vegetables account for a good percentage of your plate.
  • Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, suran and arvi.

Eat gradually

  • Eating with the family is a nice occasion but if you’re a fast eater, it can make things more difficult. If others are still eating, you may be tempted to have another helping.
  • Eating slowly will help with this and will also allow you to savour and better enjoy the food you’re eating.

After and between meals put foods away or under cover

  • Food left out and exposed grabs the eye, therefore grabbing the attention of the mind and this can all too easily lead to ‘small’ indulgences.

Don’t get stuck on the sofa

  • Making sensible food choices and keeping physically active could help you to control blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood fats and to manage weight.
  • There are lots of easy and fun ways to fit in some physical activity. A brisk walk is a great way to stay active.

What to drink?

  • Another way of cutting down on calories and the number of units is to choose a lower strength wine.
  • Try not to drink to excess, however freely the drink is flowing. Diabetes UK recommends men should have a maximum of 3-4 units (30 ml / unit) of alcohol and women a maximum of 2-3 units (30 ml / unit).
  • If you take insulin or some types of tablets, alcohol can lower blood glucose levels and therefore increase the risk of having a hypo, which is where your blood glucose level falls dangerously low, remember not to drink on an empty stomach.

Test your blood where possible

  • If you self test, commit yourself to testing your blood sugarmore regularly, over the Christmas period, to catch those blood sugar fluctuations early.
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