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Diabetes and the holidays: How to manage temptations

'Tis the season for festive meals and scrumptious desserts. Manage the temptations with these tips.

Christmas cookies Photo: Getty Images

So exactly how many calories are in a sugar plum?

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, what you eat is an important part of managing your condition. But balancing your daily carb count can be challenging — especially during the holidays. Here are five tips to help you enjoy the sweetness of the season without endangering your health.

  • Keep balancing your carbs. Spread your carbohydrates evenly throughout the day. If you treat yourself to a small slice of pie, be aware of how those carbs fit into that day’s food plan. You may have to cut out carbs elsewhere.

  • Limit your portion sizes. You don’t have to completely cut out carbohydrates to manage your blood sugar. It's all about smaller portion sizesIf you can master properly portioning each meal and snack, you can likely master blood sugar control.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages
    Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. Limiting these and choosing healthier options such as water or unsweetened iced tea can help you prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
  • Eat more healthy, plant-based food
    Choose whole grains, beans and peas (legumes) over white bread and pasta, and add nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables to your diet. Keep packs of vegetables in your freezer to easily increase the amount of fiber in your meals.

  • Eat more healthy fats
    Limit saturated fats, which can be found in butter and fatty pieces of meat. Eat more foods with heart-healthy fats, which can be found in avocados, canola oil, olive oil, fish, nuts and peanut butter. 

Health professionals can help

Whether or not it’s the holidays, meet regularly with your doctor and see a registered dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist for help with your food plan. RDNs can help you meet your nutrition and weight goals, and CDCESs can help you learn more about your diabetes self-care behaviors and the things you can do to stay healthy.


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