Dr. Dori Thompson Demonstrates Proper Nutrition and Exercise for Diabetics During the Holidays

Seven Steps to Stay on Track Offered by Premier HealthNet Physician

DAYTON, Ohio (Nov. 5, 2012) – For many people, the holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy their friends, family and the annual treats they look forward to all year. All too often, though, it’s tempting for many to take things too far, especially when it comes to food. For people with diabetes, this can be problematic.

“Obviously the holidays are a time of indulgence for many of us, but unfortunately, a person with diabetes can’t afford to take a break from his or her disease,” says Dori Thompson, MD, a Premier HealthNet physician practicing at Springboro Family Medicine. “The thing to keep in mind is that diabetes is a disease where there are high levels of sugar in the body so this is directly impacted by what we eat.”

But the holidays don’t have to be a time for strict calorie counting and self-denial. By following a few easy, common-sense steps, people with diabetes can stay on track and have a wonderful time, says Dr. Thompson. Her steps include: 

  • Eat before eating: “Some people with diabetes will think, ‘Well, I won’t eat today so I can save up my calories and eat at the party,’ but that makes it harder to maintain blood sugar levels and it can lead to overeating,” says Dr. Thompson. “Eat a healthy snack before the party.”
  • Plan ahead: “Find out what kind of food is going to be at the party, and plan accordingly for how that fits into your meal plan,” Dr. Thompson says. “At the buffet, choose smaller portions and move to another room so you’re not staring at the table and going back for seconds. Portion control is key.”
  • Bring a dish: Many holiday parties are served potluck, buffet-style, so Dr. Thompson recommends that people with diabetes bring a healthy dish or dessert that is low on carbs and sugars.  “There are many low-sugar, low-fat options for traditional holiday recipes that can be found online or at the American Diabetes Association  website, www.diabetes.org,” Dr. Thompson says. For example, she notes that if a dish calls for sour cream, a fat-free or light sour cream can be substituted. Steaming vegetables instead of sautéing them in butter is much healthier, as is using sugar substitutes, like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla.
  • Moderation is key: People with diabetes should do their best to avoid those heavy, holiday favorites, like hams glazed in honey, turkey swimming in gravy and side dishes loaded with butter, sour cream, cheese or mayonnaise. “Instead, choose leaner versions like turkey without the gravy, or turkey without the skin,” Dr. Thompson says.  “For sides, choose fresh or frozen veggies and low-sodium options.” Dr. Thompson adds that when it comes to alcohol, people with diabetes should limit themselves to one drink per day if they’re a woman and two drinks if they’re a man.
  • Eat slowly: Eating slowly has been proven to help the body feel full faster and help with food digestion, says Dr. Thompson.
  • Stay active: After dinner, Dr. Thompson suggests people with diabetes play games with their families, go for walks or start cleaning up the kitchen instead of sitting in front of the TV and being tempted by leftovers. “Start a game of pick-up football,” Dr. Thompson says. She also notes that there are many fun run and holiday walks scheduled around the holidays, such as a turkey trots or reindeer runs.
  • Tomorrow is a new day: “If you do overindulge, just get back on track the next day,” says Dr. Thompson. “Monitor your sugar, take your medications and get back to your healthy habits.”

For more information on diabetes, or to make an appointment with a Premier HealthNet physician to discuss diabetes risks and screenings, visit www.premierhealthnet.com/doctor.

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