Five Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays
For those of us who are trying to eat healthy and stay active, the stretch from Halloween to New Year’s Day is a real gauntlet. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel can really throw a wrench into our regular nutrition and exercise routines.
It’s even tougher to navigate the holidays if you’re also trying to manage diabetes. How can you stick to your plan when everyone else is splurging?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these five tips that can help:
Holiday-Proof Your Plan
You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people eating a lot of tempting treats. Meet the challenges armed with a plan:
Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
Outsmart the Buffet
When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier by taking simple steps to eat right.
Start out by having a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table. Fill the plate with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
Make sure to eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
Also, avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
And plan to stay on top of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays, and if you take medicine, ask your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted.
Fit in Favorites
No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
Get Your Zzz’s
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
Finally, the best thing you can do during the holidays is to remember one of the great joys of the season — spending time with the people you care about most. When you focus more on the folks and the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.
And, in this time of Thanksgiving we just want to say how are grateful we at Polk Medical Center are to be part of such a wonderful community.
Tifani Kinard is the Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer of Polk Medical Center.
Pedestrians pass by the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Granville Automatic, which began in Atlanta and is now based in Nashville, recently released its album “Radio Hymns.” The title track recounts how the Ryman Auditorium was saved just as it was about to be demolished in the 1970s.