Diabetes and Christmas indulgence

It’s the one lunch of the year most of us plan to perfection. From traditional glazed ham and turkey with cranberry sauce to the Australian seafood platter, there are plenty of tempting dishes on offer at Christmas. And that’s not even including the pavlova and pudding for dessert! But if you’re one of the 1.7 million Australians with diabetes it can be easy to break routines and overindulge, upsetting normal blood sugar levels.

The key to maintaining your health during the festive season is planning. When it comes to food, try to maintain your regular eating habits. Spread meals evenly across the day and don’t skip them in anticipation of a large lunch or dinner. When you sit down to Christmas lunch, plan your portions and don’t over eat, filling at least half your plate with leafy green salad or vegetables like carrot or broccoli. We all find it hard to resist desserts, but they’re often so sweet that blood sugar levels will rise rapidly so be sensible with serving sizes.

Stress can also wreak havoc on blood sugar levels, so if you’re hosting an event plan well in advance and stay organised. If you’re eating out, be prepared for meals to be served later than when you would normally eat. Consider snacking before leaving home or taking a snack to avoid getting hungry and experiencing drops in your blood sugar levels.

Christmas is usually filled with family visits and it can be hard to maintain regular exercise habits. Going for a simple walk after lunch will help lower you blood sugar levels. Take some relatives with you and continue catching up, or grab some time to yourself. It’s also important to set aside time to rest, as being tired over the festive season drives up cravings for sweet and fatty foods.

If you rely on insulin or other medication, make sure your supply will last over the Christmas period as doctors and chemist trading hours can vary. Alcohol can also cause reactions with any medication, usually lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the risk of a hypoglycemic state.

For more information on mananging your diabetes, visit Diabetes Australia.