Will Berkley is a patient at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and a Freshman at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT.
Let’s face it. When you think of the holidays, you think of food: all of the meals, parties, and sweets. Here are ten tips that will help you get through this season with better blood sugars.
1. Try to check your blood sugar an hour before your big holiday meal. There is nothing worse than sitting down to a dinner and not being able to eat because your blood sugar is up. If you check an hour before and you are high, you can correct, so by the time you get to the table you are ready to dig in.
2. Many of us travel by plane or car to visit relatives or go on family vacations this time of year. I always try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise before traveling. This really helps with the “sitting around”. Blood sugars are much more cooperative once we have exercised.
3. Try to plan ahead if you are going to a party where you know you will be indulging in foods that are not the best choices. On days like this, I try to eat very healthy all day so I don’t feel like my body is overloaded with carbs.
4. If you are a picky eater, bring a dessert or favorite snack to a party. This way you know there will be something there that you can enjoy.
5. Use your temporary basals. When I was younger, I used to get so excited for Christmas morning. My blood sugar would always drop low. My mom caught on to this pattern and for years would reduce my Christmas morning basals, so I could run around and play with my new toys.
6. Try to get a good night sleep. Sleep is such an important part of maintaining good blood sugars. With no school or work, many of us choose to stay up later than usual which can have a negative effect on blood sugars.
7. Try to stick to your usual eating routine when you can. We are all creatures of habit and eating at the same time has its benefits.
8. Eat when you are hungry, not just because there is food around. At my house, during the holiday season, my parents always have cookies and sweets available in case friends drop in. Try to avoid just eating something because it is there, I know it is tempting, but willpower is an important part of everyone’s life – not just diabetics.
9. Make a great New Years resolution. It can be as simple as trying to get one more day of exercise in each week or only having a diet soda on the weekend. It is important to set goals for ourselves, diabetic or not, and the 1st of the year is a great time to start!
10. Relax. The holidays can be stressful, but try to enjoy your family and time off. A number is just an indication of where your blood sugar is. You should not let it spoil your day.