Holiday gatherings bring wonderful feelings and create fond memories. Food has become a central part of every holiday celebration. Have you ever seen a holiday table filled with only lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables? It’s likely you haven’t as holiday tables, in general, are filled with a variety of foods, most of them unhealthy.

It’s difficult for nearly everyone to avoid eating too much of the wrong foods during the holidays. We eat so much that we feel overfull. Later in the day we can crash and feel a lack of energy. While these effects of overindulging are undesirable, if you’re a diabetic, they can be downright dangerous to your health.

Are there ways to keep yourself on track as a diabetic during the holidays? Absolutely!

Control What You Can Control

You can’t always control what will be served at a Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party, but focus on controlling what you can.

Pay attention to and track your macros and calorie intake as best as you can. 

How many carbs are in that pasta? How many carbs do you usually eat daily to control your blood sugar? Are there certain foods that satisfy your cravings without boosting blood sugar?  When you know what to eat to stay in control, decision-making at the dinner table is easier. Try to keep these numbers in line throughout the day so you don’t get blood sugar spikes.

Arm yourself with knowledge and food.

If you know roughly what food will be at the dinner, plan what you will eat. Most hosts are happy to tell you what food will be available. If you’re eating at a restaurant, you can find the menu online and special order your meal if needed. Even if you stray a little, it will be less than you’d imagine because your plate will be filled with planned items.

Take food that you love and can eat to the party. 

You have just as much right to take a diabetes-friendly dish as others do to bring heavy creams and cakes. Likely, some other guests will appreciate and enjoy your dish as much as you will, and it will help to fill your plate with goodness.

Decide How Much You’ll Eat

For some of us, the hard part of a holiday gathering is overindulging. While it may fit in your plan to have a mini cupcake, eating 4 or 5 of them won’t help your blood sugar. What can you do to help control your quantity?

When you arrive at the buffet table, choose a smaller plate. Fill it once and move away from the table. If you combine this tip with choosing the right foods for your diet, you’ll keep your metabolism stable. If you’re at a restaurant with table service, choose a smaller meal or pack half of your meal in a to go box before you start eating.

Another way to control food is to share. If there’s something sweet or carb-rich you’d really like to try, ask a friend or two to split it with you. That way, you’re getting a smaller amount.

Drink a lot of water in between eating times. If you prefer carbonated water, take it with you to the party. Water is good for you and will keep you full, removing some of the temptation to overeat.

Test and Take Medicine

The holidays might provide a break from work and the usual routine but everyone will diabetes should continue following doctor’s orders for testing and medication. Consider adding in extra testing times. Adjust your medication as needed to keep your blood glucose level steady and in the right range.

Enjoy Yourself

Don’t turn into your own worst enemy during holiday parties. It’s a celebration. Measured indulgences that don’t affect your blood sugar much are okay. If you mess up, take care of yourself and chalk it up to a mistake. It’s ok to not be perfect with your diet around this time of year!

Make your healthy planning to manage diabetes a part of the holiday fun. Try a new recipe for a low-sugar dessert, mix up a and enjoy. Focus on the celebration, and follow our tips to eat well and to be well for your holiday with diabetes.