1. Fill up on fiber.
People often believe that managing blood sugar levels means limiting or avoiding foods with natural or added sugars, starch, or flour. However, fruit and whole grains contain important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Fiber passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, so it actually helps prevent spikes in blood sugar. Foods that contain fiber are often the same ones that help boost the immune system—and sickness leads to increased blood sugar levels.
At your next family gathering, seek out fiber-filled foods like green beans, asparagus, salad, sweet potatoes, fruit, and oven-roasted vegetables. Be sure to round it out with some animal- or plant-based protein!
2. Do something you love.
The holidays can be a stressful time, and stress impacts blood sugar levels. Do your best to schedule in self-care. Listen to soothing music, call a friend, build a puzzle, do yoga or tai chi, stretch, sit outside for a few minutes, take a warm bath, practice some deep breathing, or have some honey chamomile tea before bed. When things get busy, it can be easy to want to do more and more. But pausing and checking in with yourselves throughout the day can actually create more energy and focus for moving through tasks. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Although simple, it heightens your ability to tune into your body’s cues and messages.
3. Get plenty of Zs.
Take a second to really consider your sleep habits. Getting 7–9 hours of sleep every night is important for any part of the body to run well. If you’re not getting good sleep or enough of it, find out why. And if you can’t address it on your own, consider going to a sleep center for a comprehensive evaluation.
4. Engage in gentle movement.
Gentle movement naturally decreases blood glucose levels and often relieves stress as well! Gentle
movement will look different for everyone, depending on interests and abilities. You might enjoy
gardening or cleaning, dancing or playing tennis, or even a simple walk around the neighborhood.
Think about what speaks to you and how can you implement these throughout the week.
5. Do the best you can.
If on insulin, timing is important. Taking it too soon before a meal or too late after may result in a really high or low blood sugar level, which can cause, lightheadedness, fatigue, excessive thirst, and more. Regularly engage with your primary care physician/endocrinologist, who can offer more guidance on how to navigate the holidays. Individuals with diabetes will benefit from working with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). With extensive knowledge around diabetes care and medical nutrition therapy, they can make excellent recommendations for managing dietary changes to improve blood glucose and overall health.
Kristi Edwards, co-founder and owner of 901 Nutrition LLC, is a licensed and registered dietitian in Memphis. She has several years of experience in both acute care and outpatient settings, and she is passionate about helping clients ditch dieting for good, through intuitive eating and the enjoyment of food. You can reach Kristi at 901.800.9526 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about 901 Nutrition or to subscribe to their free newsletter for monthly recipe books, visit 901nutrition.com. You can also follow 901 Nutrition on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.