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How You Can Manage Diabetes During The Festivities

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5 Min Read

Indian festivities are grandeur personified, and that’d still be underplaying their resplendence and magnificence. The sea of people, dazzling lights, and decorations aside, the food is an inseparable part of the celebrations. From scrumptious meals to the choicest sugary treats, festivals in the country – be it Ramadan, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, or Diwali — are a gastronomic delight.

However, no matter how tempting it is to throw caution to the winds and binge on delicious empty carbohydrates and sweets, they’re actually super unhealthy and result in belly fat. And you cannot stow away the truth that most holiday treats are particularly harmful to diabetics.

That being said, we don’t want to be a killjoy and ask you to sit out this festive season. You deserve a fair share of the indulgence and delicious foods that feature in every household at this time of the year. That is precisely why we have compiled this list of all things you can do to manage your diabetes effectively during the festive season. Read on:


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1. Retain the regular structure

Festivals are a busy time of the year, for there’s so much to plan and do. Be it meeting friends, planning family dinners, or shopping for gifts, you have to sneak in everything within a limited period. The key to staying healthy amid this chaos is maintaining some structure and schedule in your life that you would’ve otherwise had.

Try to squeeze in some time for exercise regularly, even if it means going for a brisk walk in the morning or a post-dinner stroll.

Take your diabetes medications on time, and stick to the regular eating schedule. More importantly, eat a healthy and balanced meal. It is easy to get overboard during this time, considering the platter of sweet treats you’re greeted with almost everywhere.

2. Check what you’ll be served in advance

During the festivities, there’s just so much to do with food everywhere that one can never downplay the importance of planning your meals ahead of time. You cannot lock yourself in your house at this time of the year; chances are you’d be visiting people (and eating with them) almost regularly. And when that happens, you are usually at the mercy of what the host is serving.

But it doesn’t have to happen this way. Make it a habit to call in the host and ask what they’re planning to serve. Another upside of checking the plan in advance is that you can indulge without breaking a sweat. For instance, if you know that your friends are planning to bake delicious treats and desserts during Dussehra, you can always plan your meals and medicines accordingly and dig into the savouries.

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3. BYOD

If you are a diabetic, festivities can be challenging, considering you cannot always control what you are served. Let’s face it; a non-diabetic would never know the ideal menu and general dietary habits that diabetics have to follow.

A way out of this problem is to bring your own dish (BYOD), stick to a healthy meal prescribed for diabetics, and consume kidney-friendly superfoods. Remember that it need not be anything complicated – even a vegetable-based appetizer can do. This will also make sure you have something delicious to bite into at the get-together.

Experts say that every diabetic is distinct from the others, and one must know the right balance of foods that work for him/her. There is a raft of diabetes-friendly recipes on the web for you to try.

4. Monitor your symptoms closely

You must manage your symptoms well if you are afflicted with diabetes. Also, it is equally essential to be mindful when it comes to exercising and eating. That’s because even if you are trying to not overindulge, chances are you’d still be eating more at this time of the year compared to other months.

That is precisely why you should always keep a tab on your vital parameters. Experts believe that if there’s ever a time to monitor your blood sugar levels, it is now. The objective is to work out a plan with your healthcare provider to make the most of the celebrations while ensuring blood sugar levels aren’t askew.

5. Mind your alcohol intake

Everybody likes to tipple during revelries. And why not! Moderate alcohol consumption isn’t necessarily harmful to your health and can reduce the risk of heart diseases.  However, it is the overconsumption of alcohol (and other sugary, carbonated beverages) that is particularly harmful to diabetics.

Mindless binging on your favourite wine can result in abnormal blood sugar spikes and lead to an abrupt crash, leaving you feeling lightheaded, irritated, dizzy, and tired. Remember that drinking too much affects diabetics differently. The aftereffects can be exacerbated by the diabetes medications you are on.

Also, never drink on an empty stomach and check your sugar levels before you tipple. This will let you know if your glucose levels are already astray, and if you should forego drinking altogether.

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6. Get physical activity

The holidays make the perfect excuse to sit back all day and binge on your favourite TV shows. While there is no harm in putting up your feet during this time, ensure that you get adequate exercise regularly. According to experts, if you are a diabetic, you should definitely try to squeeze in 30-40 minutes of exercise daily.

Throw in some moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises like running, and alternate that with resistance training. A little experimenting will ensure the sessions don’t get monotonous, and you reap the benefits.

If your schedule looks packed with prior appointments, spread the exercise time throughout the day. Go for two/three 15-20-minute walks. Besides preventing the extra calories from piling, physical activity will ward off stress, which is crucial for diabetics. Need help to get started? Check out our 20-minute home workout program.

7. Know how to navigate a buffet

Who doesn’t love a buffet, that too during the prolonged festival months! But the problem is that for diabetics, portion control becomes challenging with an extensive buffet spread. While it is advisable to keep off buffet-style meals, we know that it isn’t realistic. Instead, you can follow these tips recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Get a small plate. This will limit the amount of food you can take on the plate
  • Fill your plate with leafy green vegetables, protein-rich foods, good fats, and complex carbs like whole-wheat chapattis or brown rice. Complex carbs digest slowly and are especially useful for Type 2 diabetes, considering these help manage blood glucose levels. But make sure you consume carbs in moderation.
  • Avoid white rice, potatoes, and white bread as these are high glycaemic index (GI) foods
  • Eat your food slowly

NOTE: Some of the best foods to control diabetes effectively are fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring, anchovies), leafy greens (spinach, kale), whole eggs, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, nuts, flaxseeds, broccoli, apple cider vinegar, strawberries, Shirataki noodles, garlic, and spices like cinnamon and turmeric.

8. Get sound sleep

With shindigs almost every evening, it can be easy to skimp on sleep. But you certainly know better, and understand how vital adequate sleep is for optimum health. If you are dealing with diabetes, know that sleep loss or compromised sleep quality can make it all the more challenging to keep your blood sugar levels in check.

It is a vicious cycle – when you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to binge more. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Besides maintaining the right glucose levels, it will also ensure you don’t eat mindlessly.

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