Indulgence is the name of the game during the holiday season. When living with diabetes, this can be harmful to your health. If you are a diabetic, being mindful of your eating habits and physical activity is especially important during this season. Monica Blanton, physician’s assistant at the Diabetes and Endocrinology Center at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus, is sharing ways in which you can stay on track during the holidays.
“The weather and time change during the fall and winter tend to limit our activity levels and we often find reasons to avoid going outside,” said Blanton. “When the weather isn’t ideal for exercising outdoors, there are several alternatives available in the Topeka area like shopping malls and indoor exercise centers. Walking for just 30 minutes a day is better than nothing, and it doesn’t have to be all at once. You can break your walks up into 10 minute intervals throughout the day. Even doing little things like walking in place with hand weights while you are watching TV at night can make a difference.”
Eating healthy during the holiday season can be difficult for everyone, especially diabetics. “The key is portion control,” said Blanton. “Really try to limit how much you eat in one sitting. A great place to start is to use salad plates instead of regular dinner plates. You will still be able to have a full plate of food but just with smaller portions.”
When it comes to traditional holiday foods, try to swap out carb-laden foods for healthier options. “If you want some type of potatoes, go for sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes,” said Blanton. “Many holiday pies, such as pecan, are really high in carbs. Pumpkin pie is a better choice. If you want to enjoy some meat, choose turkey over ham, as ham has a high sodium content. This is also a great time to experiment with some different vegetable dishes like mashed cauliflower and spaghetti squash casserole.”
Eliminating entire food groups is something Blanton does not recommend. “When you tell someone not to eat certain things that will end up being what they want to eat the most,” said Blanton. “Instead of completely eliminating carbs or sugars, eat them in moderation. Make smart choices most of the time and then enjoy a treat on a special occasion. Don’t skip out on the cake at a special event, but don’t indulge every day. Enjoy your life and the holidays with your loved ones.”
To learn more about the Diabetes and Endocrinology Center or to make an appointment, call 782-272-2240.