Cakes, cookies and pies – oh my! Once again, the upcoming holiday season will be filled with delicious temptations. Whether you’re sharing meals via FaceTime or in small, socially-distanced gatherings, maintaining a healthy diet can be a real struggle for wound care patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and related conditions. With a little advanced planning, it’ll be a lot easier to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Here are five healthy holiday eating tips, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
1. Holiday-Proof Your Plan. You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re going to see other people eating tempting treats. You can meet these challenges head-on if you’re armed with a plan! Eat as close to your usual times as possible to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, have a snack at your routine mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served. If you want to have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal. Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast because it will be more difficult to manage your blood sugar. You’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat. If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
2. Outsmart the Buffet. When you face a beautiful table filled with delicious holiday food, make a small plate with the foods you like best. Then move away from the buffet table. Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite. Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full. Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medications. Check your blood sugar more often during the holidays. If you take medicine, ask your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted. Enjoy your Holiday Favorites! No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan. If you plan for it, no food needs to be on the naughty list.
4. Keep Moving! During this very busy time of year, physical activity can take a back seat. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
5. Get Your ZZZs. Sleep loss can make it harder to manage your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to keep your regularly scheduled wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy appointments. It’s very important to continue treatment throughout the holiday season.
Most of all, remember what the season is about—celebrating and connecting with the people you love. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.
For more tips from the CDC, visit Living with Diabetes.