Festive Eating Tips for Weight Maintenance and Portion Control
There are many parties, restaurant visits and family dinners ahead. With so many food-sharing occasions to look forward to, sometimes it can be difficult to make healthy choices. But why wait to recommit to healthy eating after the holidays? You can enjoy delicious holiday eating while still making diabetes and weight-friendly choices.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for diabetes control. If you are aiming to lose weight, physical activity, together with a healthy diet, may help you lose those pesky pounds. Losing just 5 to 10% of your weight, or as little as 5 to 7 kg (10-15 lbs.) can make a big difference to your health! This time of year it is easy to put on the pounds – so try these strategies to help you avoid holiday weight gain.
Before heading out the door, plan what you will eat and how much. Use your blood sugar values and physical activity for that day as a guide. Speak to the party host about the menu and any concerns you might have. If you’re going to a restaurant, see if their menu is online. Good planning will allow you to have fun while making good choices.
Don’t go to a party hungry.
Who hasn’t eaten less the day of a big dinner so that they can indulge later? This “saving room” strategy will affect your blood sugar control, and it may also cause you to overeat. Have a healthy snack at home before you go out. Then, enjoy a reasonable portion of holiday eats and treats at your party.
Be picky at the buffet table.
Look over all your choices first and then enjoy only the very best. Follow the Canadian Diabetes Association’s recommendations to fill at least half your plate with veggies and then smaller amounts of meat/fish and pasta/potatoes. If you must, have a bite of cake – but eat mostly fruit for dessert.
Restaurant portions are huge and the holiday specials can be tempting.
Look for items that are baked, broiled or grilled and ask for dressing and sauces on the side. Ordering two appetizers may be a better option than one main course. Dessert is always more special when it’s shared. Make it a point to ask for a doggy bag. Not only will you be practicing good portion control, but you’ll also have something special to enjoy the next day.
The holidays are a time of celebration, which often means many opportunities to open a bottle of wine or uncork the champagne. People with diabetes can drink alcohol in moderate amounts. Here are some things to remember:
- It is recommended that men drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and women drink only one alcoholic drink per day.
- Drinking alcohol can cause low blood sugar, especially if you take insulin. Check your blood sugar, eat carbohydrate rich foods and/or carry glucose tablets with you when you’re drinking.
- Many alcoholic drinks like liquor or wine have no carbohydrates, but they may increase your risk of low blood sugar. If you like mixed drinks with pop or juice, these will have carbohydrates. Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages can be high in calories.
- Some medications are affected by alcohol. Speak to a pharmacist about possible interactions
- Set yourself limits ahead of time. Drink slowly and pour your own drinks.