15 Tips for Managing Diabetes during the Holidays

Today we welcome Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Dietitian, and Diabetes Clinical Manager, Savanna Cummings. Savanna is dedicated to educating and providing the best possible outcomes for patients and healthcare providers using insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems, and believes in utilizing education and technology to achieve diabetes self-management for all people with diabetes. Today, Savanna shares 15 tips to help you manage your diabetes this season.

Tis’ the season to enjoy time with friends, family, and those special holiday goodies! The holidays can create a sense of joy and excitement, along with urgency and stress. Managing your diabetes continues during the holidays, but should not limit your ability to have fun and enjoy the festivities.

Let’s Celebrate with Food: You can have that special treat!

The holidays are decked with feasts of signature recipes, traditional candies, and cookies prepared in endless quantities for enjoying at school, work, and home. Since carbohydrate (carb) content in these signature recipes can be difficult to determine, revert to the basics of carb counting, utilizing your favorite website and your best judgment. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your glucose with all the delicious food.

1. Eat normally during the day, versus skipping meals to save calories for the annual holiday dinner.
2. Strategically choose your favorite appetizers and dishes to eat, instead of filling up on chips.
3. Create a small plate of your favorite foods, and move throughout the party to socialize, away from the buffet.
4. Keep overindulging at bay by avoiding thinking, “I have already ruined my blood glucose with this party, so I will continue to eat all these chocolate candies.”
5. Choose naturally sweetened foods, like fruits, to satisfy your sweet tooth after leaving the holiday party, instead of indulging in the leftover scrumptious pumpkin cheesecake.

Let’s Celebrate with Activity: You can get moving to feel great!

It is easy to place exercise on the back burner during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Exercise can improve mood, reduce stress, and allow you to take time just for you during the season of giving. Physical activity at any time of year improves your health and reduces risks for complications related to diabetes. Here are 5 tips to help you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

1. Walk off the anxiety and stress with a half hour walk every day.
2. Take a lap around the mall to window shop before entering the stores.
3. Improve your mood with sunlight and spending time outdoors.
4. Invite friends to join your activity to increase your enjoyment of exercise.
5. Start the day with an activity to ensure you have met your daily activity goal.

Let’s Celebrate with Travel: You can go to that amazing place!

The most important action to take when traveling is preparing for your trip ahead of time, especially during the holidays when we often pack a year of events into a six week season. Yes, you can have a stress-free trip, even with diabetes. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for travel.

1. Frequently test your blood glucose to increase awareness of any effects from travel.
2. Pack snacks (link to tips for smart snacking) and allow time for stopping to eat meals, as traveling creates changes to meal and medication schedules.
3. Create a travel checklist using the Medtronic Travel Checklist.
4. Review airport security guidelines and use the Airport Information Card.
5. Take your camera and enjoy the scenery!

This holiday season, don’t sweat the small stuff and focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life. The holidays are a different experience for everyone around the world. When it comes to diabetes management, you can handle this season knowing you have the resources at your fingertips. Remember to take time the time to invest in yourself and your diabetes health. Happy Holidays!

Have any holiday season tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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