Thanksgiving dinner may be behind us but there are more holiday meals to get through before the year comes to an end. While no one benefits from overindulging, if you have diabetes, you need to be especially vigilant about your food intake to maintain normal and steady blood sugar levels. But with so many food temptations at gatherings with family and friends, managing your diabetes can be stressful.
Here are some tips to from The Diabetes Council to help you navigate meals through the holidays guilt free and without risking your health. You can eat your favorite foods and still exercise self-control.
Stick to your plan, but have some of what you want.
Scope out what will be served as part of the meal. Decide on carbohydrate choices and plan to pick two of those, saving some carbohydrates for dessert if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. The key is to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates as you normally do – or only a few more.
Snack before you go
Curb your appetite before going to a holiday dinner by eating a diabetes-friendly snack. High protein, low carbohydrate and high fiber snacks fill you up, are healthy and will not raise your blood sugar. Nuts, almonds walnuts fit the bill, for example.
Drink water before the meal and eat salad first
You will feel full before you get to the main course by drinking some water and eating your salad. Doing so, will reduce your desire to indulge when it is time to move onto the heavier meals and dessert.
Do not pass up dessert
What are the holidays without special desserts? Do not deprive yourself. You can have one serving of a diabetes friendly desert or even a regular one. The key is to have a sensible portion and after indulging, take a long walk or engage in some other family-friendly sports activity.
Do not skip meals
Skipping meals to “save up” for a big holiday means can throw your blood glucose off target. Better to eat regular meals at regularly scheduled time. If you have Type 2 diabetes, skipping meals signals to your liver that you are starving. In response, your liver will dump glucagon into your system. This can cause your blood sugar to rise if you do not make enough insulin or are not able to use it well. So, eat regular meals and snacks to maintain a steady blood sugar level.
Frequently check your blood sugars
When you are off your routine, as you tend to be during the holidays, check your blood sugars more often to make sure they as close to target range as possible.
In addition to the above tips, make sure to get enough sleep. The CDC points out that when you are sleep deprived you tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep to prevent mindless eating.” 
Above all, if you do overindulge at holiday meals, do not stress. What is done is done. Get back on track. Aim to be extra active, which will help lower your blood sugar.
 “How to Manage Diabetes During the Holidays,” Diabetes Council, June 10, 2020. https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/how-to-manage-diabetes-during-the-holidays/
 “5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Accessed November 19, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/index.html