I’ve got a really bad sweet tooth. Really bad. It’s pretty much the worst thing you can have as a diabetic. When I was little and Halloween time came around, I’d come home and dump out my little pail filled to the brim with candies of all kinds. My mom always said, “Good thing I can trust you not to eat any of these at school!” Well, needless to say, I would. I’d check my blood sugar and my mom would look at me disapprovingly when it marked a 250 mg/dl reading or higher. Yup. I had eaten the candy. But to be fair, I was a kid! Asking a kid not to eat candy that’s just handed to her is asking the impossible!
Luckily, now I’m able to adjust my insulin dosage if I want a little piece of candy after a meal, something I wasn’t able to do at the ripe old age of 5. It’s a serious problem right around this time of year, too. Halloween brings with it enough candy to feed a village; Thanksgiving brings turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuits, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and so, so much more; Christmas and New Year’s in my house means tamales and deliciously fruity and spiked punch for days! These foods can raise blood sugar levels and leave you feeling full and low energy, which undoubtedly means skipping the gym or your afternoon run.
Despite the house-full of food these coming weeks, there are things you can do to avoid those spikes in your blood sugar. Here are a few of the things I try to do to keep my blood sugar as level as possible.
- Portion control. Yes, there will be a ton of food, and yes, most of it will be deliciously unhealthy – but that doesn’t mean you have to gorge. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of its wide range of food, and I usually have some of everything I see, but only a bit. A spoonful of mashed potatoes, a serving of turkey, half a biscuit, and I double up on any veggie, as long as it’s cooked simply and without added sugar or fats. Thanks to Blasting, my taste buds have changed and I tend to enjoy fresh, whole foods more now than I ever have before. More green peas? Yes, please!
- Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day. Usually when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just dehydrated. Grab some water and drink up; if you’re still hungry fifteen minutes later, then you really are hungry. Grab a healthy snack.
- Push for healthy alternatives. Buttery potatoes are good, but lightly grilled asparagus with just a dash of olive oil and sea salt are to die for! Skip the pumpkin pie and try a healthy, whole foods pumpkin Blast for dessert. (Or try our version, instead!) Choose the leaner cuts of meat and opt for whole grain options instead of refined grains. These alternatives are tasty and good for you, too.
- Snack, snack, snack! Every doctor I’ve had has told me that it’s healthier to eat smaller amounts of food more often throughout the day than it is to ONLY eat three big meals in one day. Three big meals means your blood sugar spikes, then lowers substantially all those hours later you go without eating anything. It’s not consistent, so keep healthy snacks on hand: nuts, baby carrots, boiled squash, a NutriBlast – these are good for you, keep your blood sugars stable and keep you more satiated, so you don’t gorge yourself when dinner time finally arrives.
- Give yourself one cheat. If you know you can have one serving of eggnog (or one serving of pie, or one Halloween candy), then you’re more likely to keep your eats healthy the rest of the time. Just remember to work out a little harder to make up for the extra carb intake, or adjust your medications to avoid highs. You’re diabetic, but that doesn’t mean the holidays are off limits. Enjoy yourself!