Eat nutritiously during the holidays with type 2 diabetes

Molly Gee Registered dietitian and Glucerna® nutrition advisor Molly Gee, MEd, RD, LD
Eat nutritiously during the holidays with type 2 diabetes

The holiday season is a time for family and fun, but also food. Almost every holiday celebration includes copious amounts of food and drinks. For people living with type 2 diabetes, this can be extremely challenging.

Unfortunately, health does not take a holiday. To ensure a healthy life, it is important for people with diabetes to receive sensible, practical advice on maintaining good nutrition and managing blood sugar during the holidays. Of course, before changing anything health-related, you should discuss it with your doctor first to make sure it’s right for you.


Do plan ahead

People with diabetes need to eat smaller meals more frequently, which can be especially challenging during the holidays when big family meals are common. Scheduling eating times and making sure healthy snacks will be available can help to maintain proper blood sugar levels when you are on the go.

Do pack healthy, portable snacks when travelling

We all know that holiday travel can be hectic, but keeping healthy snacks available in the car or on the plane can make things easier. The TSA even allows liquids for medical needs, so nutrition shakes and bars for people with diabetes are good options for long flights.

Do track your activity

Holiday travel and shopping can throw off your normal routine, but you can still sneak in exercise! Pedometers are easy and inexpensive ways to track your activity on the go. You can also explore online tracking tools and apps, such as MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople, to manage diet, nutrition and exercise through this busy time of year.

Do hydrate smartly

Choosing water over other beverages that may contain hidden calories can be very beneficial during the holidays. Not only does doing so allow you to allocate calories elsewhere, but staying hydrated helps to curb feelings of hunger as well.

Do get the whole family involved

Being social this time of year does not need to come at the expense of a healthy, nutritious diet. With a diagnosis of diabetes, you can set a good example for loved ones. Healthy eating is good for the whole family. Involve your family in planning and preparing healthy meals for holiday celebrations.


Do not skip meals

During the holidays, it may seem tempting to skip breakfast or other meals in order to save room for that big, decadent lunch or dinner. However, doing so will cause you to be starving as you approach the big meal, and it will likely lead to you overeating. Eating smaller meals roughly every four hours will help you maintain proper blood sugar levels.

Do not advertise meals as “diabetes-friendly”

The secret about meals that are “diabetes-friendly” is that they are really healthy for everyone. However, telling family members this may lead them to have negative feelings toward your dish. So keep it a secret. In the end, all that will matter is that your food is delicious.

Do not be a couch potato

Especially with football season in full swing, it can be easy to become a couch potato during the holidays. However, it’s important to make sure to take breaks for activity. Whether it’s running out for a few extra ingredients for dinner or taking the dog for a walk, try to get in a few extra steps when possible.

Do not go for seconds or thirds

Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite holiday treats, whether it’s a slice of pie or a cup of eggnog. It’s really all about portion control. Enjoy your favorite holiday treat, but try not to go for seconds or thirds.

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About 26 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 90 percent of those with diabetes have type 2. For people with type 2 diabetes, maintaining good nutrition and managing blood sugar can be a challenge during the holidays, but it’s extremely important. These tips should help you to stay healthy during the holidays, while enjoying the season to the fullest at the same time.

More expert advice about Diabetes

Molly works with nutrition leaders like Abbott to provide tips for people with diabetes.

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Molly GeeRegistered dietitian and Glucerna® nutrition advisor

Molly Gee (MEd, RD, LD) is a registered dietitian, Glucerna® nutrition advisor, and communications consultant with more than 25 years of experience in health and nutrition communications and clinical management of obesity and diabetes. Molly is ...

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