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Tips for managing diabetes during the holiday season

November 09, 2018

Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the U.S. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, while another 84 million, or 1-in-3, are either at-risk or have prediabetes.

November, which brings in the busy holiday season, is Diabetes Awareness Month. Managing diabetes during the holidays sometimes can be difficult, as so many celebrations are focused on food.

 “I have heard patients’ stories and challenges in managing this disease and the complications that can develop, including heart and kidney disease, stroke, neurological and blindness,” said Lea Ann Dick, MS, RD, LD, CDE, director of the Kettering Health Network Diabetes and Nutrition Center.  “One of the biggest changes for people living with diabetes is their nutrition lifestyle. The opportunity is in learning new ways to shop, prepare and eat foods that support health and well-being.”

A dietician and certified diabetes educator with more than 25 years of experience, Lea Ann has worked with patients in every type and stage of the disease. Lea Ann offered these tips to help with making good food choices and managing diabetes during the holiday season.

Plan ahead

If you are preparing the meal, plan for a variety of healthy food choices. Begin with healthier appetizer choices, like a fresh veggie tray or a dish of healthy nuts, such as almonds or pecans. For your main courses, experiment with traditional recipes, using less sugar, fat and salt. Go online and research recipes that include nutrient-rich foods like kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin and squash. Fresh berries are also a great option because they are low in calories, as well as a great source of fiber and vitamin C.

Be mindful

During the holiday season, be aware of the types of foods you are eating and the quantities. How you feel after a holiday meal is often a direct result of the kinds of foods you choose. Try cutting back on the amount – portion size matters. Mom might have always made you clean your plate, but that isn’t necessarily the best thing. When you’re full, stop eating.

Fill your plate with health-filled, non-starchy vegetables, and reduce the amount of high-starch food like potatoes, corn, stuffing and rolls. This will also leave you more room to enjoy the main courses. Be sure to take it easy on desserts or skip them altogether. Try a healthier option to end your meal, like fresh fruit, and drink water or other unsweetened beverages with dinner, like coffee or tea.

Slow down

Holiday activities can have you rushing from one event to another, and that can take a toll, especially if you’re scarfing down your food at every turn. Take your time to eat slowly. This will give your body the chance to feel full sooner without that “stuffed” feeling you get from overeating. Eating more slowly also will lead to better digestion and hydration, easier weight management, and more satisfaction from your meal.

Team up

The holidays provide a great opportunity to have some conversations with loved ones about preventing type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. Increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week, losing weight over the next year, and making healthier food choices can all help greatly reduce the risk of diabetes onset. If someone in your family already has the disease, offer some positive support of their daily self-management efforts.

With eight outpatient care locations, the Diabetes and Nutrition Center aims to help patients with diabetes reduce the risks and complications associated with the disease and improve their quality of life. Each location is staffed with a team of experts in diabetes care, including endocrinologists, advanced practice providers and certified diabetes educators who are dieticians and nurses.

The Kettering Health Network Diabetes and Nutrition Center has support groups available with different topics and speakers to help patients manage diabetes more effectively. Monthly meetings are currently held in Centerville, Beavercreek, and Hamilton, with new monthly meetings at a second Centerville location beginning in January 2019. Click here to view information on all diabetes support groups, including

Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the U.S. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, while another 84 million, or 1-in-3, are either at-risk or have prediabetes.

November, which brings in the busy holiday season, is Diabetes Awareness Month. Managing diabetes during the holidays sometimes can be difficult, as so many celebrations are focused on food.

 “I have heard patients’ stories and challenges in managing this disease and the complications that can develop, including heart and kidney disease, stroke, neurological and blindness,” said Lea Ann Dick, MS, RD, LD, CDE, director of the Kettering Health Network Diabetes and Nutrition Center.  “One of the biggest changes for people living with diabetes is their nutrition lifestyle. The opportunity is in learning new ways to shop, prepare and eat foods that support health and well-being.”

A dietician and certified diabetes educator with more than 25 years of experience, Lea Ann has worked with patients in every type and stage of the disease. Lea Ann offered these tips to help with making good food choices and managing diabetes during the holiday season.

Plan ahead

If you are preparing the meal, plan for a variety of healthy food choices. Begin with healthier appetizer choices, like a fresh veggie tray or a dish of healthy nuts, such as almonds or pecans. For your main courses, experiment with traditional recipes, using less sugar, fat and salt. Go online and research recipes that include nutrient-rich foods like kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin and squash. Fresh berries are also a great option because they are low in calories, as well as a great source of fiber and vitamin C.

Be mindful

During the holiday season, be aware of the types of foods you are eating and the quantities. How you feel after a holiday meal is often a direct result of the kinds of foods you choose. Try cutting back on the amount – portion size matters. Mom might have always made you clean your plate, but that isn’t necessarily the best thing. When you’re full, stop eating.

Fill your plate with health-filled, non-starchy vegetables, and reduce the amount of high-starch food like potatoes, corn, stuffing and rolls. This will also leave you more room to enjoy the main courses. Be sure to take it easy on desserts or skip them altogether. Try a healthier option to end your meal, like fresh fruit, and drink water or other unsweetened beverages with dinner, like coffee or tea.

Slow down

Holiday activities can have you rushing from one event to another, and that can take a toll, especially if you’re scarfing down your food at every turn. Take your time to eat slowly. This will give your body the chance to feel full sooner without that “stuffed” feeling you get from overeating. Eating more slowly also will lead to better digestion and hydration, easier weight management, and more satisfaction from your meal.

Team up

The holidays provide a great opportunity to have some conversations with loved ones about preventing type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. Increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week, losing weight over the next year, and making healthier food choices can all help greatly reduce the risk of diabetes onset. If someone in your family already has the disease, offer some positive support of their daily self-management efforts.

With eight outpatient care locations, the Diabetes and Nutrition Center aims to help patients with diabetes reduce the risks and complications associated with the disease and improve their quality of life. Each location is staffed with a team of experts in diabetes care, including endocrinologists, advanced practice providers and certified diabetes educators who are dieticians and nurses.

The Kettering Health Network Diabetes and Nutrition Center has support groups available with different topics and speakers to help patients manage diabetes more effectively. Monthly meetings are currently held in Centerville, Beavercreek, and Hamilton, with new monthly meetings at a second Centerville location beginning in January 2019. Click here to view information on all diabetes support groups, including meeting dates, topics and locations.  

In addition to support groups and online information, Kettering Health Network sponsors community events throughout the year to promote awareness of diabetes risk. Find one close to you by looking for the “Duck Diabetes” presentations listed on the Kettering Health Network events calendar. If you think you could be at risk of diabetes, click here to take the risk quiz. Complete information about all the diabetes resources available to you can be found at www.ketteringhealth.org/diabetes.

meeting dates, topics and locations.  

 

In addition to support groups and online information, Kettering Health Network sponsors community events throughout the year to promote awareness of diabetes risk. Find one close to you by looking for the “Duck Diabetes” presentations listed on the Kettering Health Network events calendar. If you think you could be at risk of diabetes, click here to take the risk quiz. Complete information about all the diabetes resources available to you can be found at www.ketteringhealth.org/diabetes.