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Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

  • Category: Living Well
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Valerie Burton, RN, CDE

Being diagnosed with diabetes is difficult but managing diabetes during the holidays can be even more difficult. It’s important to plan ahead so you can enjoy your day with your family and friends. The American Diabetes Association has tips to help you control your diabetes during the holiday season.

  • Focus on family and friends instead of food. The holidays are a time to relax, slow down, and catch up with those you love. Instead of allowing food to be the focus, play games, volunteer at a community center, or spend time outdoors with your family.
  • Enjoy the celebration, but don’t overdo it. Eat slowly and savor the foods that you would only have once or twice a year. If the holiday meal is being served at your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrate that you would normally eat for a meal. If you plan to have dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during dinner. If you desire a second helping, choose a non-carbohydrate food.
  • Eat before you eat. Do not skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save up” carbs or calories for your holiday meal later on. It’s hard to keep your blood sugar in control when you skip meals. You are also more likely to overeat if you are very hungry.
  • Drink Alcohol in moderation. You should only drink alcohol if your diabetes is in good control. If you drink alcohol, have it with a meal to prevent low blood sugar. The general guidelines are 1 to 2 servings with a meal.
  • Keep it moving! During the holidays our activity levels usually change or exercise routines get interrupted. Even though the holidays can be distracting to our normal routines we can still take time to be active.
    • Go for a walk with your family after dinner.
    • Play a family game that involves physical activity.
    • Offer to help clean up after the meal to get you moving around.
  • If you overindulge, get back on track. Don’t consider yourself a failure if you eat more food than you anticipated. Focus your attention on the people around you. Stop eating and make sure you hydrate with water. Increase your activity level and monitor your blood sugar. Get back on track with your healthy eating habits the next day.

Diabetes Center at Touro Infirmary

If you have diabetes, the Diabetes Center is here to help! Every day you make decisions and choices that affect your diabetes and your health. So, it is important to know as much as possible. The Touro Diabetes Center provides a comprehensive program of educational services and support to individuals and groups. The Diabetes Center works closely with physicians to identify each patient’s specific needs and helps them develop the self-management skills needed to control their disease.

For more information, go to or call 504-897-8813.

Valerie Burton, RN, CDE is a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator who serves as Program Coordinator for the Touro Diabetes Center. She has worked at Touro for 21 years and has been counseling people with diabetes since 2006. Her goal is to help individuals learn how to effectively manage diabetes by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.