So, one meal is in the books, and now you’ve got about a month until the next one. If it were only so easy. Between now and then, you’re going to be challenged with many sweets, feasts, and drinks that are laced with sugar. How on earth are you going to control it?
The holidays are not easy on your blood sugar, and depending on your overall health, it could be a relatively dangerous time of year. Managing blood sugar over the next 30 days or so is tough, but it can be done with some effort, patience, and a few tricks.
One of the most enjoyable ways to keep blood sugar under control this time of year is with activity. Getting outside to stroll around and look at holiday decorations, visit seasonal markets, shoveling the driveway, or taking the grandkids for a skate or toboggan can all help keep blood sugar in check. When your body is moving and muscles are contracting, they draw on blood sugar for energy.
If you want to keep blood sugar low, you’re going to have to watch out for all the sugary treats that appear this time of year. Chocolates, candy canes, cookies, and cakes are seasonal fixtures that can boost blood sugar to astronomical levels. Holding back on these and practicing portion control can help, as can focusing your attention on other seasonal offerings. Roasted, seasoned nuts, sugarless brownies, and baked apples with cinnamon are all low-sugar alternatives. Try and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, as well.
Another way to slow sugar absorption to avoid blood sugar spikes is to eat plenty of fiber. And if you can get it while eating something sugary—like chocolate—mix it with some fruit or whole grain. Alternatively, you can go for a short walk after a sweet snack.
Portion control is another tough one. Meals get big this time of year and are often carb-heavy. Practicing mindful eating can help in this department by slowing you down while increasing overall satisfaction with your meal. It can also prevent a massive blood sugar spike followed by a nasty crash.
Mindful eating means taking one reasonable plate of food and chewing slowly. Remember that it is not a race, and take your time in tasting, appreciating, and chewing every bite and the overall meal experience. Aim to take 20-minutes to finish your plate, then pay attention to how you feel. Chances are you’ll feel satisfied with what you’ve had.
Lastly, you’ll want to budget your carbohydrates. If you just love stuffing, cranberry, or candied yams, avoid picking on sweets leading up the meal. A carb-heavy meal, after all, does not have to extend into a carb crazy day.
You can enjoy your holiday—and likely increases its value—and still keep blood sugar under control. Give these ideas a try for a holiday that you’ll remember forever!