Sat | Feb 27, 2021

Control your sugar levels this Christmas

Published:Wednesday | December 9, 2020 | 12:08 AM

With a wealth of food available during the Christmas season, it can also be a trying time, especially for those with health conditions such as diabetes. Keeping disciplined to control sugar levels and portions can be particularly difficult.

Here are a few tips for enjoying sensible eating at Christmas.

COMMIT YOURSELF TO A FOOD PLAN:

It’s very easy to get carried away by what’s on the table. To reduce the chance of this happening, plan how much you intend to eat and make a point of sticking to it. If you are not cooking, find out what will be served in advance.

DIABETES AND ALCOHOL:

Don’t forget to factor in that alcohol contains high calorie content and also causes sugar levels to fluctuate. Plan how much, or whether you will drink and stick to this, too.

AVOID FEELING HUNGRY FOR TOO LONG:

If the meal is taking longer to prepare, it can lead to an unusually long period of hunger and anticipation. Say you actually wanted to overeat, the best way would be to make yourself very hungry before eating.

One way to avoid being so ravenous is to break the delay. Protein and/or non-starchy, vegetable-based pre-meal snacks are a good choice as they are filling and slowly broken down.

HAVE A GLASS OF WATER BEFORE EATING:

Having a glass of water before you start your meal is an easy and effective way of reducing your food intake; it makes you feel full earlier on, thus reducing your appetite.

BASE YOUR MEAL ON NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES:

Base your meal on non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables are the staple of sensible eating. Make sure that vegetables account for a good percentage of your plate.

EAT GRADUALLY:

Eating with the family is a nice occasion, but if you’re a fast eater it can make things more difficult. If others are still eating, you may be tempted to have another helping. Eating slowly will help with this, and will also allow you to savour and better enjoy the food you’re eating.

DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT TURNING OFFERS DOWN:

Any food you eat is going to end up in your blood stream and on your body, so don’t feel shy about turning food down. Feeling stuffed can be quite unpleasant by itself, and it’s also worth bearing in mind that the body’s natural reaction to having to digest a particularly large meal is to release extra sugar into the bloodstream.

WALK AWAY FROM THE CRAVING:

If temptation is proving a taxing task and hard to avoid, it can help to literally walk away from the craving. A 20-minute walk in the crisp air should be enough to increase endorphins and serotonin, which can help to overcome cravings.

TEST YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WHERE POSSIBLE:

If you self-test, commit yourself to testing your blood sugar more regularly over the Christmas period, to catch those blood sugar fluctuations early.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com