(LEX 18) — For many, a central part of the holiday season is food. Not only is there a lot of it, but there are plenty of sweet, savory, and much richer treats. For those with diabetes, it's important to keep your health in mind.
When faced with the abundance of holiday food, managing your blood sugar levels may be more of a challenge, but that doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself.
"A lot of people think, 'Oh, I can't enjoy the holidays. I can't eat all of my favorite foods.' What we want to encourage people is eating is an important part of life. It's a pleasurable part of life,” said Tami Ross, a Licensed Diabetes Educator with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. “We want to equip people with strategies to feel that they can enjoy it and still enjoy some favorite foods."
When you’re at a dinner or event, Ross suggests taking a tour around the food options. Prioritize the items you want to eat most and then make your plate accordingly. She also suggests taking only a few bites of each dish.
"It's really those first few bites that we sense and get pleasure from,” said Ross. “Most people can work it in without compromising their blood sugar management."
Ross says it's also important to watch the amount of carbs you eat and fit exercise into your schedule.
When it comes to holiday sweets, a common misconception is that eating a lot of sugar causes diabetes.
"Eating sugar does not cause Type 2 diabetes, but once you know that your blood sugars are running higher, managing the total amount of sugar and other carbohydrates can help steady out blood sugar control,” said Ross.
This month, the health department encourages people to check on their health. You can take the Diabetes Risk Test on the American Diabetes Association’s website, diabetes.org.