10 Ways to Survive the Holidays with Diabetes

Jorge Rodriguez, MD, is passionate about improving public health by focusing on diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Dr. Rodriguez is frequently seen on The Today Show, CNN News, Fox News, The Doctors and The View sharing his medical expertise.

HolidayDinnerTable_400The holidays are a great time of the year, a time of family, friends and, of course, food. From Halloween to New Year’s Day, people show their joy of the season by preparing sumptuous meals. However, if you have diabetes it can be a real challenge. Everywhere you turn there are sweet treats that both represent the general festivity—but also a slippery slope that may lead to your diabetes getting out of control.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can still enjoy the coming season without sacrificing your health. Here are my 10 helpful tips to keep your diabetes under control during the holidays.

Skip any quick candy treat. If it’s wrapped in a shiny foil wrapper, stay away from it! As far I’m concerned, the dangers of the season begin with Halloween. Those little candy bites are neither nutritious nor helpful. They are pure sugar. Let’s face it—even though we swear to eat just one, before you know it we’ve eaten a handful. My biggest concern is that if you lose control this early in the season, there may be no turning back.

Be a great guest. There is no doubt that you will be invited to many holiday meals from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. You might be asked to bring a side dish—if not, volunteer to do so. The hosts would probably appreciate it. This way you can bring at least one dish that is vegetable rich and something that you can stock up on. No one needs to know that it’s “healthy.” Check out my book The Diabetes Solution for some great ideas. Now you have something that you can eat without fear.

Stock up on protein. When you are at those amazing holiday meals, the entrée is your best friend. Feel free to eat an extra portion of the turkey, the roast, or the goose. Protein is a great source of calories during the holidays and doesn’t increase your blood sugar like carbohydrates do.

Watch the online course, The Diabetes Solution: For Women, by Jorge Rodriguez, MD

Fill your plate with vegetable side dishes. Enjoy and have double portions of the vegetable side dishes: the Brussel sprouts, the salads, the broccoli. Delicious and filling. Enjoy!

Avoid all bread. I’m sorry, but there is point where I must draw the line and this is it. Probably the greatest source of bad carbohydrates during the holidays comes from bread, muffins, and stuffing. Reach for a veggie instead.

Exercise more. This doesn’t mean that you must become an Olympic athlete, but it is essential that you at least double the exercise that you are currently doing. Walk with the family more often. Take the dog for a walk. Volunteer to shovel the snow!

Cut down on the alcohol. Alcohol is an empty source of calories. No wine, which is basically fermented carbohydrates, is allowed. Nor any of the other alcohols, which are fermented grains or potatoes. If you must drink, limit it to one drink per event.

Eat the appetizers that contain vegetables. This is self-explanatory; avoid the bready treats. Go for the high-fiber alternatives.

Skip all special holiday drinks. NO EGG NOG, NO PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES. You know that I’m right. All those drinks are nothing but holiday milkshakes.

Keep your eye on the ball. Your main objective is to stay healthy so that you can enjoy your family for many years to come. Missing a few sweet treats is a small price to pay to be able to open Christmas and Hanukah presents for years to come.

It’s a great time of the year and it’s not the food that makes it special. It’s being able to share this time with friends and family.

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