By Nadia Al-Samarrie
The holidays are never an easy time for people with diabetes. Temptations loom everywhere with family and friend invitations to celebrate a national festive day with food and drink, a time when we tend to indulge a bit more than usual. Unfortunately, people with diabetes do not have the luxury of eating whatever they want or as much as they want. Here are a few tips that can help you maintain better blood sugar levels.
Eat Before the Party
Eat before attending your event, or if you are hosting- eat protein before the party starts. This way, you don’t start drinking on an empty stomach. Make sure to have nonstarchy raw vegetables as healthy snacks available. If you can eat vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, celery, radishes, cauliflower, greens beans, and cucumbers, to name a few without a dip, do so. It can stretch your carb budget. If you attend a party, take raw vegetables with you if chips and dip are your only option. There are two benefits to eating fresh vegetables. It will help your blood sugars while the fiber will keep you full, making it less likely to indulge in foods that will shoot up your blood sugars. If you tend to have a sweet tooth, you may also want to take low-carb fruits like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. These are some of the lowest carb options.
Choose a Lower Carbohydrate Drink
Avoid sweet sugary alcoholic drinks as they will be high in carbohydrates and will raise your blood sugar. If you like wine, five ounces of red wine is a lower carb option with four carbs per drink. If you prefer hard alcohol, 1.5 ounces of vodka, whiskey, or gin with a diet drink should have little to no carbs; beating alcoholic beverages with sugary mixers.
I am a carbohydrate counter who typically eats no more than 100 carbs a day. This allows me to be flexible by budgeting my food and drink. If I eat more than 100 carbs, I exercise to make up for the extra carbohydrates. A salad with protein and a vodka or whiskey drink with sugar-free ginger beer is one of my favorite holiday drinks. I usually have one drink followed by at least 16 ounces of water. My alcoholic beverages always end at two glasses with another 16-32 ounces of water followed by the second drink.
Know-How Your Medication Effects Alcohol Consumption
If you are taking any medication, make sure you google your medication name and alcohol to see any side effects. You don’t want the memorable event to be focused on you feeling ill.
Go For a walk
Go for a walk after a party. It will help with your blood sugars, make you feel better, and possibly help you sleep well. The Europeans like to take walks after their meals. My experience with different friends in Germany, France, and Scotland has taught me to appreciate an after-meal walk.
Planning for a festive holiday party goes a long way. Once you make these tips a habit, going to parties will not derail you from maintaining good blood sugar levels. Both people with and without diabetes never feel better the next day when they overindulge. Try to make it a family ritual to help each other to maintain the best possible health.
I wish you a safe, Happy 4th of July wherever you are!
P.S. You may also be interested in reading this article- AskNadia: How Much Alcohol is Too Much Alcohol for Diabetes
Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns before making any changes to your prescribed treatment.
AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google) is named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2019 & 2017 by Healthline. With 24 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. At a young age, she was propelled into “caretaker mode,” With her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, she co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.
Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. In addition, her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized, and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News, Phili.com, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.