Don’t Avoid the Party – Enjoy the Party!
Debra J. Loder, RDN
Registered Dietitian, Dietary Manager for Wickenburg Community Hospital
520 Rose Lane, Wickenburg, AZ 85390
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body’s blood glucose is too high. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas. Insulin helps to take the sugar (glucose) from the food you eat out of your blood and take it into your cells. Sometimes the body does not make enough insulin which means that the sugar stays in the bloodstream. Over time, this can contribute to serious health problems such as kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, and eye problems.
Maintaining blood glucose levels is essential to a healthy life with diabetes. A regular schedule of balanced meals and snacks helps to keep blood glucose in check. A variety of healthful foods in moderation is essential to good health. Whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats in balance can help control blood glucose.
Whether you have diabetes or are hosting a person with diabetes, the holiday season can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! But it will take some planning.
If you have diabetes, planning ahead can help you stay healthy when the occasion arrives. Here are a few tips for planning:
- Going to a party? Don’t go hungry. Plan a light, nutritious meal or snack a couple of hours before leaving for the party. This will help you to not go too long without eating and will make it easier to manage what you eat at the party.
- Don’t skip meals. Eat every 3 – 4 hours. Remember to eat balanced meals that contain lean protein, complex carbohydrate, fruit, vegetables, and heart healthy fats. Follow your health care providers or dietitian’s recommendations regarding how to space your carbohydrates.
- Watch out for buffets and pot lucks. Before grabbing a plate, take a look at the buffet offerings. Then, take a small plate and fill it up with vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. If possible, have a small serving of a fruit-based dessert or split a dessert with a friend or two. Prepare and take a healthful entrée to assure that there will be something that you will be comfortable eating.
- Follow MyPlate (choosemyplate.gov). MyPlate is a visual reminder to fill ½ of your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with lean protein and whole grains.
- Consider your alcohol consumption. Before consuming alcohol, check with your health care provider about how much alcohol you should consume. Insulin and other diabetes medications don’t interact well with alcohol. Never have more than one or two drinks and remember that a serving of alcohol is 1 ½ ounces of liquor, 4 – 5 ounces of wine, and 12 ounces of beer.
- Stay active. Physical activity is extremely important in the management of blood glucose levels with the recommendation being 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to get off track with your exercise plan. Physical activity does not have to be done in a gym with expensive equipment. Walking, biking, swimming, and even dancing count. And, physical activity does not have to be continuous, 10 or 15-minute intervals throughout the day may make it easier to fit in.
If you are hosting an event that will be attended by someone who is diabetic, preparing healthful food will be appreciated. Lean protein like roasted turkey, chicken, or pork loin makes a healthful and diabetic friendly entrée. Whole grains like barley, farro, or brown rice can replace white rice for a fiber filled pilaf. Fresh green beans topped with lemon zest and toasted almonds makes a healthy and tasty alternative to the traditional green bean casserole. And, baked apples topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt are easier to prepare and just as delicious as a piece of apple pie.
With a little planning, a person with diabetes can enjoy the holidays and special events while managing their blood glucose.
If you or a loved one would like more information on balanced meal plans that support diabetic needs, please call 928-668-5506 for an appointment with Debra today.