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Healthy Living Advice: A Diabetes Survival Guide for The Holidays Season and Beyond

Diabetes and holidays can actually go together better than chocolate and peanut butter!

(BPT) - The holidays are almost here, and with them comes plenty of feasting and merriment. Enjoying the season is important, but if you have a family member with diabetes, it’s also very important to maintain a healthy routine for managing the condition.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean missing out on the festivities. What it does mean is balancing holiday indulgence with healthy diet and exercise choices. The American Diabetes Association has some helpful guidelines to help you keep your diabetes managed well this holiday season and into the new year.

* Enjoy holiday foods, but don’t overdo it. Instead, spend more time with your family members sharing stories, playing games or heading out to the park for a pickup game of football or basketball. Make the celebration about the people you’re with instead of food.

* Bring something to share. If you count carbohydrates to balance out your medication, offer to bring a dish you like to the celebration. Look up the nutrition information beforehand so you know how many carbohydrates are in a serving.

* Try a new recipe. During American Diabetes Month in November, the American Diabetes Association asked visitors to its website to vote on their favorite seasonal foods and flavors. The winning picks inspired a special collection of recipes, which are featured in a video hosted by award-winning cookbook author Robyn Webb, who is also the food editor of Diabetes Forecast. Visit diabetesforecast.org/holidaymeal to get the recipes of herb-roasted turkey and a holiday pumpkin pie with maple-ginger crust. Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=cds80FBSTfs to see the video.

* Plan to get out. After everyone has enjoyed the meal and the dishes are washed, invite everyone out for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the Christmas lights. And if you have children visiting, consider making a trip to the indoor community pool for some fun in the water. Or, find a tubing hill in your community to play in the snow. Many communities also offer torch-lit walking trails for a great evening out.

* Monitor what you drink. Many holiday cocktails use high-sugar mixers like regular soda and juices. The calories in these drinks can add up quickly. Look for ways you can incorporate sugar-free options to avoid letting your blood glucose levels go out of control. It’s also important to avoid drinking on an empty stomach in order to prevent low blood glucose. If you opt to imbibe, keep in mind that the Association recommends one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or fewer per day for men.

It is the holiday season and you can enjoy it with your friends and family without losing control of your diabetes management. So sit down around the table to enjoy a delicious orange and walnut salad or spiced sweet potato casserole with these healthy guidelines in mind.

For more information, visit www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/holiday-meal-planning.

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