During the holidays, sweet treats and savory bites surround us. For the most part, avoiding all these foods entirely isn’t really realistic, so how can you stay on top of your diabetes management while still enjoying the seasonal foods you might look forward to all year? Try incorporating these 8 healthy holiday tips into your holiday planning this year.
1. Plan Ahead
Many families eat holiday meals at odd times (like the middle of the afternoon), either out of allegiance to a tradition that stems from our agrarian past or to accommodate football games, travel schedules, and party-hopping. You may need to have a snack at your normal meal time to keep you from overeating at the gathering.
2. Check Your Glucose Levels
During the holidays, you’re eating more carbohydrates than usual and at different times than you normally do. Keep an eye on your sensor glucose  after your meal and sneak a peek at your MiniMed Connect  app on your phone. Be sure to check your blood glucose (BG) if you see your sensor glucose increasing or decreasing.
3. Eat Slowly, Enjoy Your Company
Meals are a staple of family holiday traditions. Enjoy the time you have together and those foods you may only have once or twice a year by eating your food more slowly. Slowing eating gives your body the chance to tell your brain you’re full, so you’ll end up eating less and be just as satisfied.
4. Snack Smartly Before Your Meal
Choose foods to nibble on that won’t sabotage your BG while you’re cooking or waiting for your meal. Bring a platter with your favorite lower carb veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, celery, and broccoli, or have a small few pieces of low-fat cheese.
5. Modify Favorite Holiday Foods
Simple food and ingredient swaps can turn cooking and baking into a healthy holiday meal. Opt for low-fat or no-fat cheese instead of full-fat cheese, egg whites instead of eggs, or turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. You’ll reduce the calorie and fat content while enjoying your goodies without the guilt.
6. Drink More Water
Mild dehydration can mimic the sensation of hunger, and according to Diabetes Self-Management , people with diabetes are at a greater risk of dehydration because a higher than normal BG can deplete fluids. Aim to drink at least 8-10 ounces of water throughout the day, and drink up before your first bite of food and while eating to add volume and weight to your meal – you may end up eating less and will stay hydrated. For a calorie free flavor boost, squeeze in a lemon or lime, or try sodium-free sparkling water.
7. Limit Sugary Alcoholic Drinks
Mixed alcoholic drinks  tend to have a lot of carbohydrates, and too much alcohol can lessen your inhibitions and lead to overeating, according to U.S. News . If you’re going to have a drink, try to limit yourself to one drink per day (for women), or two drinks per day (for men)  and opt for a mixed drink with sugar-free or diet mixer. Be sure to test your blood sugar more frequently when drinking alcohol, and eat a small snack if your stomach’s empty to help prevent low blood sugar.
8. Plan for Exercise
Moderate and daily exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating, and is a great reliever of (holiday) stress. If you’re not already on an exercise program, start by brisk walking 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, or try one of these 5 Healthy Holiday Activities . Be sure to talk with your healthcare team before starting a new exercise program.