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Enjoy healthy and happy holidays with our health tips

By Vilasini Bhaskaran, Expert Dietitian NHS UK; Dietetic Lead, Practo India

The holidays are a time to indulge in festive feasts, but it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t make you feel guilty or overloaded. Learn to navigate endless plates of food, desserts and drinks with our helpful tips and enjoy the season without unwanted consequences.

  • Set realistic expectations – It’s impossible to avoid behavior completely. Instead, aim to balance them with eating in moderation and exercising.
  • Thinking about the holidays can be overwhelming when you’re focused on improving your health and lifestyle. To help keep you on track, try maintaining reminders of your health goals. Avoid being too hard on yourself by staying away from food policing or calorie counting. Instead, keep an open mindset and allow yourself to enjoy the festivities while choosing options that align with your health goals.
  • Approach the buffet thoughtfully – Do not approach the buffet with fear and dread. Choose a small plate. Explore the options and choose the one you like! Slow down, savor, and stop when you’re full or satisfied.
  • Focus on healthy indulgences where possible – When attending or hosting a party, it’s important to opt for healthy food. Look for options that are lower in calories and higher in nutrients. For example, choose vegetable dishes like sabzi and seasoned stir-fries, or try a lentil and vegetable combo. Additionally, consider grilled foods instead of fried options. By making these easy changes, you can enjoy delicious food while keeping your health in mind.
  • Limit carbohydrates – To avoid excessive carbohydrate intake, consider eating vegetables and proteins first. Eat small amounts in your plate and eat slowly.
  • Include carbohydrate alternatives where possible – for example quinoa, bulgur wheat, nuts instead of croutons in soup, cauliflower pizza instead of regular pizza.
  • Try healthy snack options – roasted unsalted nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cooked vegetable crisps, cucumbers and carrot sticks with hummus.
  • Choose sweets wisely, choose smaller portions, use a fork instead of a spoon and eat slowly.
  • Take frequent sips of water as a strategy to reduce space for food.
  • Avoid sugary drinks like juices, smoothies or milkshakes and consider diet drinks or sugar-free hot drinks.
  • Consider more exercise if you party frequently, but try to limit exercise politely where possible.
  • Why not include trekking or hiking in your holiday calendar? This can be fun as a family.
  • Alcohol – Limit alcohol as it creates cravings that result in eating or snacking more than usual. People with diabetes who use insulin or certain diabetes medications, such as sulfonylureas, have a higher risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Alcohol can worsen low blood sugar because it impairs the liver’s ability to release glucose into the bloodstream during a hypoglycemic episode. Consult your healthcare provider if you are unsure about taking medications with alcohol.
  • Types of drinks:- There is no ‘best’ alcoholic beverage for people with diabetes. If you’re going to drink, it’s good to be aware of all the facts so you can choose the best type of drink for you:
  • Avoid low-sugar beers and ciders (known as diabetic drinks) – these may have less sugar but more alcohol.
  • Avoid low alcohol wines – these often contain more sugar than normal wines. Limit yourself to one or two glasses. Try to limit beverages with a lot of sugar, such as sweet sherry, sweet wines and liqueurs.
  • When ordering drinks, clearly state your preference for diet or sugar-free mixers with any spirits.
  • Beer, ales and ciders contain carbs that raise blood sugar levels. Spirits, dry wine and Prosecco have fewer carbs and are better choices if you’re concerned about carbs.

Holidays and celebrations are an integral part of our lives and it is impossible to ignore or neglect such situations. However, it is necessary to learn to accept the challenges that come with you and try to work on possible solutions or explore other options. Doing this will help you become more confident in maintaining your positive diet and lifestyle changes.

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