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While the holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year, they can also be the most stressful. ‘Tis the season for shopping, decorating, parties, and cooking. Tempting treats are everywhere. Exercise plans are put on the back burner. For anyone, these are the ingredients for diet disaster. Diabetes is a disease that results in high levels of sugar (glucose) in your blood. Insulin is a hormone used by your body to turn food into energy. If you have diabetes, you know that the holidays can be an especially tricky time of year to manage you health. With some careful planning and smart choices, however, you can make sure that your holidays are both healthy and happy. Now that the season is upon us, here is a simple recipe you can follow to manage your diabetes:

PLAN AHEAD The most important thing you can do to manage your diabetes during the holidays is to plan ahead. This way, you can be ready to manage your health in different situations that may come up. What is on your agenda? Are you going out of town? Do your plans include a lot of parties where there will be holiday goodies? If you figure out Image of nurse.your schedule ahead of time you will be better prepared to handle each day.

EAT RIGHT Check you menus! A good meal plan should fit in with your schedule and eating habits. People with diabetes need to eat a variety of foods. This way, you get a balanced amount of nutrients your body needs – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates (CARBS) have the biggest effect on your blood sugar. These include breads, beans, fruits, vegetables and milk. Sugar is also a CARB. Sugar becomes glucose in your body, but so do the other foods mentioned above. With sugary foods, the rule is MODERATION. Eat too much and your glucose level will go up higher than you expected!

DON’T OVERDO THE SPIRITS OF THE SEASON Check with you doctor about drinking alcohol. If your doctor has told you it’s OK for you to have an occasional drink, make sure you have food with it and stick to one serving of alcohol. Too much alcohol is bad for you at any time of year. This is because alcohol can cause your blood sugar to drop. This can make you feel sleepy, dizzy, or confused. Alcohol may cause these symptoms shortly after drinking and for 8-12 hours after drinking. If you are going to drink check you blood glucose first to make sure it is not low. You should also check you blood sugar before you go to bed to make sure it is at a safe level – between 100 and 140mg/dl

EXERCISE This is not the time to take a holiday from your daily exercise routine. Being more active helps lower you blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise is also a great way to beat stress! Although is may be hard to find time for your regular workout here a re number of ways to stay active:

WALK: Park your car at the far end of the lot, power walk while shopping in the mall, take a twilight stroll around your neighborhood and admire the holiday lights.

TRY A SEASONAL ACTIVITY: ski, build a snowman, BEAT STRESS With so much to do and so little time, stress is very common. Help yourself relax:

  • Plan your list and shop before Thanksgiving.
  • Say no! You do not have to accept every holiday invitation.
  • Find some quiet time for yourself every day- listen to favorite carols, have some hot tea, or just sit and watch the snowfall.
  • Don’t always cook from scratch. Use some mixes, ready-made dough, or pre-cut ingredients to save some time.

©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA