The holidays can be stressful for everyone, but even more so if you have Type 1 diabetes. Since food is a major focus at most celebrations, you have to be extra vigilant about how you take care of yourself, so you don’t put yourself at risk.
As long as you stay mindful, you can enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else. Here are the top ways to celebrate the holidays and not risk your health.
The key during the holidays is to stay active to keep your body processing blood sugar. Sitting around and visiting may feel like what you want to do, but getting some movement in right after your meal goes a long way. Play hide and seek with your nephews, catch up with Aunt Nancy during a stroll around the block, or play chase with your in-laws’ dog to help get his zoomies out. Or, you can get a sweat session in before the festivities start for the day.
Eat Before you Go
It’s easy to overeat when you attend celebrations. If you’re caught up in the holiday rush, you can easily lose track of what you’ve eaten.
Instead of hitting up the gatherings on an empty stomach, have a little something before you leave. Make sure your snack or small meal contains fat and protein to help balance the carbs you’ll have later.
You probably won’t want to have a full meal while you’re looking forward to your holiday favorites, but fill up enough so you can eat mindfully and make good choices.
Plan What You’ll Eat
Don’t be afraid to ask the host what they are serving. This allows you to plan your carbs. If there’s a higher carb treat that you know you want, you can skip out on carby appetizers to balance out the day.
Planning what you’ll eat ahead of time ensures that you’ll make smarter choices. You trick your brain into eating only what you’ve planned and that allows you to avoid making fast and unpleasant decisions.
Tell the Host About Your Concerns
Don’t be afraid to tell the host about your dietary concerns. Chances are you aren’t the only one and most hosts want everyone to feel comfortable.
Some hosts will go out of their way to make sure you have options. Others may not be so accommodating, possibly because they aren’t familiar with the requirements. Which brings us to...
Bring Food to Share
There’s no better way to control what you eat than by bringing your own dishes. If there are favorites you love but you now are too high in carbs or sugar, make a diabetes-friendly version. Lakanto has some great dessert recipes that can help with that!
You can bring enough to share with others so you don’t feel out of place, but you can rest assured that you’re taking care of yourself too.
Think Before you Eat
Some indulgent treats are worth the carbs and insulin, others aren’t. Before you dive in, consider whether you get enough enjoyment out of it to make it worth it.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water can stop you from eating foods you don’t want to eat. Sometimes we eat out of boredom or to feel like we belong. If you have a glass of water in your hand, you keep your hands busy and you won’t feel like you have to eat just because everyone else is eating.
Celebrating the holidays with Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to be horrible. You can still enjoy the holidays, celebrating with friends and family without throwing your diet out the window. The key is to be mindful, plan ahead, and bring items you can eat.
If you can eat before you go and know you’ll avoid the food, that may offer the best option, but if not, improvise. Stay active, taking walks after eating large meals (and even including family members), and keep your hands and mind busy when everyone is eating so you don’t find yourself overeating and putting yourself at risk.