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Planning Aids Diabetics During Holiday Season
By Chantel Lott
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Control diabetes during the holiday season by balancing food, activity and medication.
"The first rule should be that no foods are forbidden," said Melissa Mixon, human nutrition specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Accept the fact that the holidays bring challenges. Plan from beginning to end how to handle them.
"Enjoy your favorite holiday food, but remember moderation is the key," Mixon said.
To avoid overeating, eat a snack before leaving home. If the holiday meal is high in fat, a low-fat snack will help reduce the temptation to overindulge at the gathering.
Scheduling is a top priority for diabetics. If a holiday meal is not at a regularly scheduled meal time, do not skip the regular meal time. Have a snack instead.
Carbohydrates have the most effect on blood sugar. Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy foods and starchy foods such as breads and sweets. All of these foods affect blood sugar, not just sweets.
Fat is a nutrient necessary for a healthy diet, but it is especially important that people with diabetes regulate their fat intake.
"Family and friends can support diabetics by offering a wide variety of foods and substituting ingredients lower in fat or sugar into the traditional 'fatty' favorites," Mixon said. "Other ways to support diabetics is to offer vegetable platters with low-fat crackers, chips and dip."
Everyone needs a variety of nutrients in their diet, but for those dealing with diabetes, it is especially important. The main nutrients in food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
"Control blood sugar during the holidays by increasing physical activity," Mixon said. "Being active provides greater control of blood sugar, thus more flexibility in food choices."
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park as far as possible from building entrances. Other ideas include walking with the dog, playing with the kids or raking leaves. These small uses of energy will help decrease blood sugar levels and stimulate better overall health.
Remember in the holiday hustle and bustle to take the medication prescribed by your healthcare professional.
Find additional information on diabetes online at http://www.diabetes.org/.