Simple ways to control diabetes during the holidays

The holiday season can be challenging for people with diabetes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still enjoy meaningful celebrations.

In addition to communicating your diabetes limitations and being flexible, adjusting your vacation expectations can allow you to enjoy memorable experiences without missing out on any fun.

According to the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems), people with the condition know that living with diabetes is a 24/7 job.

The holidays can be tough on maintaining blood sugar levels, but maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is essential. Also, it’s vital to feel good, stay energetic and have fun,” said Gems.

The programme, which offers a Diabetes Care Programme, aims to support its members by educating them about the disease, enabling them to manage and control it.

“You can live a better life by improving your control. In addition, good glucose control reduces the risk of serious health problems. The finger prick test measures your glucose level at that moment, while the glucose control (HbA1c) is the best test to determine your average control over three months,” added Gems.

The show shared some tips to enable people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as their loved ones, to have a fun and safe holiday season.

Be mindful of carbs

Find out how many carbs are in the foods you eat most often. This tip is a real lifesaver when it comes to managing diabetes.

“Understand how foods affect your blood sugar and how they affect your body. To learn more about your body, learn which foods cause a reaction. This is one of the critical components of controlling your blood sugar and will life much easier. Plus, you won’t miss out on all the fun!”

Develop a routine

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A woman gets a blood test during a trip for medical check-ups for hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes | Photo: CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP

Routines are important. You’re more likely to keep your blood sugar under control if you stick to your routine.

For example, preparing for a big holiday dinner shouldn’t mean skipping meals. On the contrary, it can lead to low blood sugar and increase the chances of overeating later.

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It is essential to spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day, as well as to avoid eating too many carbohydrates at once. Ideally, you should consume 30-60 grams (g) of carbohydrates per main meal and 15-30 grams per snack to control blood sugar.

Have regular blood tests

Make sure you get blood tests more often. When you eat different foods and eat out of hours during the holidays, it’s best to check your blood sugar more often. Two-hour intervals, before meals or before and after exercise, are ideal to get a clear idea of ​​how your body reacts.

If you drink alcohol, be sure to have a snack, as too much alcohol without enough carbohydrates can lead to low blood sugar.

If you’ve had a few drinks or been active, check your blood sugar overnight because that’s when low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is common, and the goal is to prevent things from getting to that point when you have diabetes.

Stay supplied

Remember to always carry extra supplies of test strips, needles, pump infusion equipment, a spare glucometer, and plenty of carbohydrate snacks wherever you go in case you have low blood sugar.

It is recommended that people with diabetes consume 15 g of carbohydrates and recheck their blood sugar after 15 minutes. Then, if you’re not in the normal range, eat another snack with 15g of carbs.

get ready

The key to success during the holidays is preparation. Before attending a meal with family or friends, ask what food will be served so you can calculate its carbohydrate content.

Offer to bring a dish to share. That way, there will be some of these delicious, blood sugar-friendly staples for you to enjoy. Also, check the menu before eating at a restaurant if you have diabetes.

Nutrition facts for dishes at many restaurants are available online, so you can find out how many carbohydrates are in the food you’re considering. Be sure to load up on vegetables, eat lean meat, and eat whole grains and legumes in moderation.

man with diabetes
Senior man using a glucose meter | Image: iStock

Enjoying the holidays and spending quality time with your loved ones is the most important part of this time of year. We know that things don’t always go as planned in life. But do your best; don’t be too hard on yourself. Be sure to love, care and nurture yourself unconditionally concluded the medical outline.

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