2012 Christmas Health Watch


Take as your mantra this festive Christmas and holiday season – “maintain - do not gain." Remember, throughout this season we will be surrounded by buffet tables laden with food, some prepared with healthy eating in mind, and others with no care for healthy eating, diabetes prevention, management and control in mind. The holidays will soon be over and a New Year begins. BCDF wants you to enjoy your time with family and friends but do not forget your health, which is the biggest gift we have! The Bovell Cancer Diabetes Foundation wants to share some tips to be used for the holiday season and later:

1. Plan before and downsize when you get to the party or family meals. There is NO saving up carbohydrates for one meal. Sugar will flood the blood stream if you eat like that; complications come from repeated attacks of sugar on the nerve endings. Nothing is off limits with diabetes if you take time to plan it out and be satisfied with a taste, small portion or even just a bite.

2. Chew sugarless gum and carry sugar free mints. Sometimes having something in your mouth that releases flavor will do the trick.

3. Increase sleep - too much sleep (more than 9) or too little sleep (less than 6) changes hormone levels which can have a huge impact on your appetite; it can change your perceived hunger or feelings of fullness.

4. Have someone you know and trust make you a plate when your willpower is low; give them an idea of what you may really want to be included.

5. Stand on the opposite side of the room from the buffet table. Sit outside if the party over flows there as well.

6. Carry a club soda (soda water) with fresh lemon or lime during the gathering and sip constantly. We tend to be dehydrated during this season which may be confused with hunger. It also takes the edge off hunger. Plain water with cucumber slices is double hydrating due to the high water content of cucumbers.

7. Remember - no calories / carbohydrates in drinks. Soda, mixers and fruit juice raise the blood sugar quickly and do not offer any benefit. Punch-a-crème is full of calories and fat. Choose plain drinks with diet soda or diet tonic water. One alcoholic beverage for women or two for men under 65 is the limit. Have food with alcohol to help prevent hypoglycemia.

8. Try to choose low fat options instead of high fat (black cake), fried foods.

9. Think about using veggies instead of salty chips.

10. Stick to fresh fruit over dried fruit if you have the choice.

11. Dressings, gravies and sauces stay on the side. Use them to lightly dip, but not smother, your food.

12. Find the nut bowl (preferably unsalted) - but only a handful. Nuts can improve the inner lining of the arteries, are 80% fat which keeps you satiated, contain Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, Vitamin E and L-arginine.

Modified from Roberta Kleinman, RN, M.Ed., CDE (Personal communication)