*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
The holiday season is an exciting time of year to celebrate with friends, family and festive foods. But, it can also be stressful and overwhelming trying to balance having fun and keep your blood sugars in range. In this blog post, we will dive into all the holiday hacks that you need to know to feel confident walking into this holiday season without sacrificing your blood sugars.
Get Rid of the All-Or-Nothing Mindset
When you are surrounded by friends and family during the holiday season who aren't thinking about carb counts or blood sugars, it can be easy to find yourself wanting to 1) eat whatever you want with no care in the world or 2) hyperfixate on every single food item and blood sugar reading. This all-or-nothing mindset can rob you from being present and enjoying this special time of year alongside dealing with stubborn blood sugar levels. You can work on getting rid of the all-or-nothing mindset by planning both structure AND flexibility. That way you can have some predictable parts of your daily routine along with some flexibility to enjoy yourself.
Widen Your Target Blood Sugar
Widening your target blood sugar for the day can help keep your present during the day. While in your regular day-to-day routine, you may want to get alerted for blood sugar levels at 150 mg/dL, but knowing that you are up against more variables than usual, you may consider increasing that threshold to 180-220 mg/dL. This will reduce the number of alarms you receive and can help you reset your expectations for the day.
Utilizing Food Pairing When Possible
One of our favorite tried and true strategies for reducing blood sugar variability during meal times is by utilizing food pairing. Whether you want mashed potatoes or dinner rolls (or both), you can add protein, fat and fiber (PFF Method) to your plate to support your blood sugars. You can read more about the PFF Method here.
Don’t Skip Meals
A common mistake that T1Ds make is skipping meals the day of a holiday feast in order to “save” their carbs for later. This approach will leave you starving when it is finally time to eat that you likely aren't going to be able to stay fully present because you body just wants energy (and rightfully so!). Because you have this irresistible pull to eat, it is going to be difficult to remain mindful with taking your insulin as well as your food choices. Our advice is to stick to your regular meal schedule and treat your holiday feast like any other meal. Plus, this leaves more food for leftovers which means another day without having to worry about cooking AND another day to enjoy your favorite festive foods.
Overall no matter what the outcome of your holiday feast may be, it is a learning experience to prepare you for next year's festivities. With more information behind you, you can build up your confidence as you find a strategy that works best for you and your blood sugars. For more support on navigating the holidays with T1D, listen to Keeping it 100 Radio: Uncensored Diabetes Conversations- Episode 74: Keeping it 100 Over the Holidays: Managing Blood Sugars without Restriction this Holiday Season. Available now at Spotify and Apple Podcasts.