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Tips to Keep Your Diabetes in Check this Holiday Season


While the holidays are both a joyful and stressful time for us all, if you have diabetes you have the added challenge of managing your blood sugars during this hectic time of year.  However, this does not need to reduce your enjoyment of the holiday season!  It just means that some extra planning may be required.  Below are some tips to make it easier to enjoy time with family and friends:

  • While enjoying your traditional holiday meal, limit the carbohydrate portion to 1-2 servings.  This may mean measuring out the amount of pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice you are eating.  You can fill up on lean proteins and vegetables instead of overindulging in the complex carbohydrates.
  • Be careful with snacking and nibbling between meals.  We are all tempted to grab a cookie or piece of candy when walking by the kitchen.  A small bite once a day is probably OK, but make sure it is the exception and not the rule!
  • Choose some holiday snacks that are healthier and diabetic friendly.  Most diabetic cookbooks have an entire section devoted to the holidays or desserts.  Check one out!
  • When baking, consider using sugar substitutes.  However, remember that sugar alcohols can impact your blood sugar readings so enjoy these treats in moderation as well.
  • Continue to exercise regularly during the holiday season.  Formal exercise is best, but little changes can make a difference as well, such as parking far away when shopping and taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator.
  • Be sure to take your diabetes medication as prescribed during the holidays.  While the holidays are a hectic time when schedules are often disrupted, it is so important to take your medication regularly.  Not doing so will cause your blood sugars to increase dramatically.

The last tip is to remember that the holidays come just once a year and typically consists of one or two days of gatherings and celebrations. For those couple of days, enjoy yourself!  After all, New Year resolutions are right around the corner!


Scott Hines, MD, is Crystal Run Healthcare’s Chief Quality Officer, Medical Director, and physician leader for Crystal Run Healthcare’s medical specialties division. Dr. Hines is an Endocrinologist and is board certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Dr. Hines earned his Medical Degree from the Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Dr. Hines completed his Endocrinology Fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.