Sunday, December 20, 2015
Whilst for most, Christmas is a time to overindulge in your favourite food and drinks and worry about the health consequences in the New Year, for those who suffer from diabetes, it can be a very different story. Given the nature of diabetes, whether you suffer from Type 1 or Type 2, you can’t afford to simply let go of the usual rules for eating as you could be putting your health in serious danger.
However, you don’t have to feel alone in the battle to balance enjoyment and festive spirit with measures to keep your blood sugar levels under control. We’re taking a closer look at how you can plan ahead for Christmas and manage your diabetes, from alcohol intake to recommended foods.
When it comes to Christmas, there is always an element of planning, from present buying to making sure the fridge is well stocked. The same rules apply to managing your diabetes. By planning ahead for the festive holidays and sharing your plan with friends and family, you’ll feel more prepared, relaxed and able to enjoy yourself.
The key is maintaining your usual routine as much as possible. Obviously, there will be social events, Christmas parties, drinks after work and the big Christmas dinner, but planning ahead of time will help you to keep on track.
If you know you’re going to be heading out for drinks after work or an evening party with nibbles, don’t drink in excess and make sure you eat something healthy and wholesome before you go. Drinking on an empty stomach can send your blood glucose levels low and also mean you’re likely to gorge on nibbles if you haven’t eaten properly. A good way to monitor alcohol intake is to alternate between soft drinks and alcohol or opt for a lower strength alcoholic drink to reduce calories and the number of units.
In terms of managing your meals and eating habits, make sure your house is stocked with plenty of healthy, but tasty alternatives to sweets, high-calorie foods, sugary fizzy drinks and alcohol. Also, be sure to apply the same portion rules as you would normally, making sure that at least two-thirds of your plate is full of vegetables.
One of the hardest elements to keep up is regular exercise, but allowing time to go for a brisk walk, dancing at parties, running around with the kids, will make sure you keep active.
Whether you’re suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the good stuff, but being self-controlled and having regular portion sizes is important. For example, as a diabetic, you can still enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, just with a few tweaks to make it healthier.
Keeping the calorie count down will help you manage your blood sugar levels effectively - eating light-coloured turkey meat and removing the skin, using low-fat cocktail sausages and lean bacon for your pigs in blankets, vegetarian stuffing and reducing the fat used for roast vegetables can make all the difference. Keep your portions small and you may have enough room for a piece of Christmas pudding too, but check your blood sugar levels beforehand and lay off the custard and double cream.
An interesting piece of recent research also cites that walnuts have significant health benefits in reducing the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, as they can help lower cholesterol and strengthen blood vessel cell walls.
Despite recent research at The University of California and Yale, which may mean that daily insulin injections for Type 1 diabetics could become a thing of the past, there is still the need to keep track of your blood sugar levels, especially over Christmas.
With modern technology, there are a number of apps available and reminders you can set on your smartphone or tablet that will help you keep a clear record of your blood sugar levels so you can effectively manage your diabetes.
To discover more about how our dedicated GP can help you deal with your diabetes, please click here.