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Essential health information from local experts

New Year’s Survival Tips for Diabetics & Pre-Diabetics

With SMH Rehab Case Manager Crystal Brooks

It’s almost the New Year! Time for celebration and singing, family and feasting!

But all of this feasting can also be a dreaded time for those with dietary restrictions. Diabetics, in particular, often struggle to figure out how to avoid extra calories, high-fat meals, and carbohydrate-rich foods amidst all the parties and merrymaking.

Here are some tips from SMH Rehab Case Manager Crystal Brooks, who has lived with Type 2 diabetes for almost 20 years.

1. Come up with a game plan to minimize cravings.

Overeating triggers can include stress, environment, certain restaurants, time of day, and travel. If any of these factors trigger you to overeat or indulge more than your body can handle, then make a plan for how to avoid caving.

TIP: Try to eat something healthy before heading out to a party, and pay attention to serving sizes.

2. Buy the slice, not the pie.The same young woman in her kitchen, caught eating a whole pie at once.

Many supermarkets and bakeries sell pies and cakes by the slice, and there are often small, ready-made servings of holiday casseroles and sauces available as well. Buying these smaller portions mean you’ll be less tempted—and less able—to overeat.

TIP: Purchasing by the slice is pricier in the short-term, but buying in bulk could certainly exact a higher cost to your health in the long-term.

3. Always take a dish to group meals or events where food will be served.

Just in case none of the food choices available are in line with your diabetes meal-planning, it’s important to have something that you know you can and will enjoy. Try taking a salad, baked vegetables, or a delicious fruit plate that all guests can enjoy.

	The same young woman now holds up a bowl of homemade cabbage and winks to the camera.TIP: Don’t forget the beverage! While just about every host will be able to supply you with a glass of water, the sugary sodas and mixers might not be in line with your diet. Bring something that suits you, and perhaps enough to share.

4. Stay Positive!

We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Just remember that if you do not succeed, there are many more chances to try again!

5. Enlist Some Help

Find a friend or family member experiencing a similar situation, and ask this person to hold you accountable and share struggles and successes with you.

TIP: If you still have trouble managing your diabetes this time of year, schedule a consult with Diabetes Treatment Services at Sarasota Memorial, where you can speak with a registered dietitian to help you create a personalized meal plan that best fits your holiday needs.

Happy New Year to all—and Season’s Eatings!