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The holiday season is often packed with family, friends, delicious foods, and memories that last a lifetime! However, you may also face several temptations that may lead you away from your daily routine. A common consequence that may arise is unwanted weight gain, potentially leading to unmanaged blood sugar control. To keep you on track over the holidays, follow these tips and tricks to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is no need to compromise the joy that comes along with the holiday season!

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Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals

Saving up all your calories for the big holiday meal is not the best strategy to follow. The “calorie-saving” strategy often results in excessive hunger, leading you to eat just as much or perhaps even more. Rather than saving up your calories to go overboard later, try to balance them out throughout the day. You may also try having a light, well-balanced snack before a holiday party. A nutritious snack packed with healthy fats, fibre, and lean protein will keep you satisfied for longer. This allows you to control your appetite and minimize your chances of overeating later.

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Tip #2: Control Your Portion Sizes

How much you eat is as important as what you eat. The amount of food on your plate is a major contributor to determining how much you end up eating. That is, the larger the portion size of food you have in front of you, the more likely you will end up consuming more calories. By substituting a smaller plate, you can stick to the appropriate portion sizes without feeling deprived. Try this tip the next time you are at a holiday party!

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Tip #3: Take Your Time, Enjoy Each Bite!

It is recommended to eat slowly and give your body the required time to realize that you are full, and thus, stop eating. On the other hand, rushing through your meals creates a greater chance of consuming more food, and consequently, excess calories. Taking at least 20 minutes to enjoy your meal may be easier during the holidays as you can enjoy the company of friends and family around the dining table.

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Tip #4: The Order in Which You Eat Your Food Makes a Difference

Do you remember a time when you were excited to eat your favourite part of the meal first and saved your vegetables for last? Eating your vegetables first ensures that you get healthy nutrients before you feel full, and thus, stop eating. Additionally, the fibre content in veggies keeps you satisfied for longer, also helping you to manage your portion sizes better.

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Tip #5: Don’t Forget the Benefits of Daily Physical Activity

Studies have shown that taking a 15 to 20-minute brisk walk after your meal helps to manage blood sugar levels. On top of your regular walking routine, incorporate various forms of physical activity throughout the day. Physical activity extends far beyond exercise! It includes all activities that involve your whole body to move. A great household chore you may consider getting involved in during the holidays is shovelling the snow with your family. Not only are you sharing your household responsibilities and helping your family, but you are also making great use of your energy.

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Take Away Message

Thinking about maintaining a healthy diet during the holidays may make you worried, anxious, and pressured. There is no doubt that you should remain conscious about your food choices. However, it’s just as important to not let this take away from the fun and joy that comes along from the holiday season. If you end up enjoying a piece of cake or consuming slightly more than you intended, don’t feel guilty! Instead, get back to your regular routine as soon as possible. Replace guilt with curiosity to learn about yourself and your temptations. Doing so will allow you to try out new strategies to better control your dietary choices when the next holiday season rolls around. 

 References:

“Managing Diabetes during the Holiday Season.” Daily Herald, Nov 13, 2019, pp. 4. ProQuest. Accessed 5 August 2021.

McManus, K.D. “Healthy eating through the holidays.” Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/healthy-eating-through-the-holidays-2018112015386. Accessed 5 August 2021.

“Meal planning for people affected by diabetes.” Diabetes Canada. https://www.diabetes.ca/nutrition—fitness/meal-planning. Accessed 5 August 2021.

Miller, C. K., et al. “Comparison of a Mindful Eating Intervention to a Diabetes Self-Management Intervention among Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Health Education & Behavior, vol. 41, no. 2, 2014, pp. 145-154. Accessed 5 August 2021.

The Diabetes Food Hub Team. “Surviving Your First Holiday Season with Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association, https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/surviving-your-first-holi day-season-with-diabetes.html. Accessed 5 August 2021.

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