Holidays are full of festive celebrations with tasty treats and drinks that are hard to resist. Eating sweet treats is part of the fun during the holidays, and the urge to enjoy desserts can be irresistible. The downside to all of the extra delicious desserts is added weight and under-controlled blood sugar levels. To find the joy in your holidays while also keeping your weight and blood sugar levels under control, follow these tips during the holiday season.
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Set sugar goals
Make realistic goals on how many treats you will have during holiday gatherings. Avoid vague goals like, “I’m going to eat fewer cookies this year.” Rather, consider setting specific goals that are achievable. For instance, “I’m going to only have one slice of Aunt Mary’s homemade apple pie” or “I’m only going to eat two cookies at the holiday party after work.”
Stick to small portions of desserts when the cookies, pies and cakes are unveiled. A cookie here or slice of pie there will not throw off your diet, but a second or third helping can be unhelpful. Experts with the American Heart Association advise men to consume no more than 9 teaspoons (150 calories or 36 grams) of sugar each day, and for women that amount is around 6 teaspoons (100 calories or 25 grams). One slice of pie could have as many as 25 to 30 grams of sugar.
During the holidays, choose sugar-free days to balance the treats that you will be enjoying at work and family festivities. Choose a few days before or after a party to limit your sugar intake by eating more balanced, healthy meals that include vegetables, lean meats and proteins, healthy fats found in fish and complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and beans.
Eat before parties
Before you show up at your next holiday get-together, eat a healthy snack before you are tempted to stand by the dessert table. Nuts are considered a diabetes superfood by the American Diabetes Association and are a great on-the-go snack. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pistachios are at the top of the nut pyramid for healthy snack options. Edamame is another protein-packed snack. If you forget or do not have time to snack beforehand, take advantage of the vegetable appetizers to fill up on before the sugary treats are passed around.
Cut back on holiday drinks
There is nothing like a festive drink to put you in the holiday mood, but watch how many alcoholic and sugary drinks you consume over the holidays. There is a strong temptation to reach for the champagne, wines and cocktails as well as hot chocolates, sweetened drinks and soda. Swap out one of those drinks for flavored waters or seltzer to avoid the extra calories. Recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. One drink typically equals a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of distilled alcohol such as vodka or whiskey.