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Holiday WATCH-OUTs!

With parties, restaurant visits and family dinners, it can be easy to go overboard with food and beverages during the holidays. So plan in advance to keep your blood glucose and weight management efforts on track and enjoy the many food-sharing occasions. Here are some “challenge areas” or holiday WATCH-OUTS and some ideas on how to manage them!

WATCH-OUT for those BLTs

A few extra bites at the festive buffet table, a bite while cooking or cleaning up after meals, or sampling baked goods at the grocery store - all are… bites, licks, and tastes or BLTs! Food tidbits eaten mindlessly, when we are not really hungry can add hundreds of calories in one day! Here are some strategies to limit them:

  • Eat regularly throughout the day. With all the holiday activities your regular eating schedule may be disrupted. But remember to eat regularly every 4 hours. Start your day off with a breakfast that contains fibre and protein to keep you feeling full. Throughout the day eat foods with loads of fibre – you will feel fuller on fewer calories, which may reduce your need to indulge in BLTs. Fibre rich foods include fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products with fibre. Make sure to read the nutrition labels and choose products with more fibre per serving.
  • Snack smart! Snack on vegetables, fruit, and high fibre crackers instead of chips, cookies and sweets. Brush your teeth after meals and chew sugar-free gum between meals to limit mindless snacking.
  • If you bite it, write it! For a couple of days monitor and record your intake to see what you’re eating, when, and understand why. This will help target foods and times of the day which you tend to overindulge. Try to replace these foods with a healthier alternative or a different activity.

WATCH-OUT for those out-of-control portions

Watching portions is a key strategy to avoid overindulging while enjoying a variety of foods. Use some of these tips to WATCH those portions:

  • 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 will affect your blood glucose control and may also cause you to overeat later. Have a healthy snack at home before you go out. Then, enjoy a reasonable portion of holiday eats and treats at your party.
  • Avoid ‘round two’. Going back for seconds can double your calories!
  • Plan ahead. Before heading out the door, plan what and how much you will eat. Good planning will allow you to have fun while making good choices.
  • Indulge in dessert, but be picky! Scan the buffet table, select your favourite dessert, and enjoy a small but satisfying portion.

For more information on portion control, read Portion Control 1, 2, 3.

WATCH-OUT for those alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages are often part of holiday celebrations. The Canadian Diabetes Association suggests that people with diabetes can drink alcohol in moderation, which means consuming no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women. Drinking alcohol can lead to low blood glucose, so while drinking, monitor your blood glucose and eat carbohydrate-rich foods.1 Here are some tips to help manage your intake:

  • Set your limits ahead of time. Drink slowly and pour your own drinks.
  • Use sugar-free drink mixes such as Crystal Light.
  • Make your second drink alcohol-free. Try an alcohol-free beverage recipe from Kraft Canada’s Diabetes Centre.

To keep your blood glucose and weight management efforts on track this holiday season pay attention to these holiday WATCH-OUTs.. Don’t be discouraged if you overindulge, adjust your food choices at your next meal and plan to be more active!

1. Alcohol + Diabetes: Is Alcohol a Choice for Me? Canadian Diabetes Association 09/11