Managing Diabetes during Holiday Party Season

December 4, 2017

Managing diabetesThe holidays are a festive time, but the focus on food can make it hard to eat right. Here’s a quick guide to enjoying holiday parties while making good food choices.

The holidays are a wonderful season to celebrate and enjoy time with friends and loved ones. But the focus on food at parties and family gatherings can make it tough to stick to a healthy lifestyle. The festivities are even tougher on the millions of Americans who live with diabetes.

When temptations abound, it’s more important than ever to manage your diabetes in a smart, well-planned way.

A Simple Guide for Managing Your Diabetes at Holiday Parties

Here are some tips that may help to get you through the holiday celebrations while safely managing your diabetes.

  1. Know the Best Holiday Foods to Eat

When it comes to the holiday buffet, healthy eating can be a matter of making the right choices. Start by eating veggies. They’ll take the edge off your appetite so you’ll be less likely to overindulge on the not-so-healthy stuff.

It’s also wise to plan your meal so that your overall carb intake isn’t too high. For example, if you can’t wait to savor the pumpkin pie cousin Grace always makes, skip the potatoes and bread.

It’s not always necessary to skip dessert, but you do have to make smart choices. For example, choosing pumpkin pie over pecan pie means you’ll be cutting calories and sugar by a third or more.

  1. Know Which Holiday Foods to Avoid

Let’s face it: holiday foods aren’t exactly synonymous with a healthy diet. Lots of sweets and rich food seem to go hand in hand with the celebrations. You can still enjoy your favorites by limiting portion size and making substitutions. However, there are some you should outright avoid.

Alcohol is a prime example. It may cause your blood sugar to swing dramatically. Plus, it is often loaded with calories. According to WebMD, one drink counts as two fat exchanges, so keep that in mind when you reach for the holiday grog.

Here are a few other interesting facts about alcohol and diabetes:

  • Alcohol stimulates your appetite. When you drink, your willpower and judgment may become weakened, which can lead you to make bad food choices.
  • Sweet wine and beer contain carbs, which can impact your blood sugar.
  • Alcohol can interfere with medications or insulin, putting you at risk for problems with your diabetes.


If you’re unsure of whether or not you should be drinking alcohol, talk to your doctor. They may tell you to avoid it altogether, or they might advise you on how much your limit should be.

  1. Treat Your Body Well

Holiday plans can disrupt your daily routine. Whether you’re attending parties or simply spending time shopping and visiting with friends, there’s a good chance you’re going out more.

Sometimes that means getting less sleep, which isn’t good for an adult with diabetes. Did you know sleep deprivation may cause you to eat more? And it can also cause you to crave food that is bad for you, like high-sugar, high-fat foods. Precisely the kind of food you’re apt to find at the holiday table. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night during the holiday season.

Getting adequate amounts of exercise also can help. Don’t let your packed schedule push exercise off your weekly calendar. It not only helps work off extra calories—it can also help reduce stress.

Lastly, stay on track with your medication schedule and continue to monitor your glucose.

  1. Remember What the Season is About

Finally, try to remember what’s truly important about the season. Holiday parties are for seeing friends and family and enjoying one another’s company. When you focus on that, you’re less likely to obsess about food and drink.

Live Well at Legacy Senior Living

At Legacy Senior Living, we’re committed to resident wellness. We know that spending time with loved ones is important for a senior’s mental and physical health. It’s why you’ll find an abundance of holiday events and activities for residents and their families to participate in all season long.

Call the Legacy community nearest you to ask for a copy of our holiday activities calendar, and make plans to celebrate the season by joining us for any event that looks enticing!