Amy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country.
‘Tis the season for unending appetizers, bountiful buffets, drinks that flow all evening, luscious “once-a-year” desserts—you name it! So let’s not pretend that we won’t be overindulging a bit at this time of year. Hey, diabetics are human, too.
The trick is to consciously manage this indulgence—rather than just "letting go" and figuring you'll make up for it later. By that I mean, make proactive decisions about when you'll treat yourself, and what foods are worth splurging on. A few strategies that seem to help out there:
Make sure you're not too hungry when you head out
Many people find that having a healthy snack before they hit the party helps keep them from stuffing themselves later at the buffet. Try something simple like keeping a can of natural almonds in your car so you can munch a handful before you walk into a party or restaurant. This will help you feel full (satisfied) and less tempted to overeat.
Put it on your plate!
No picking at those finger foods. Make a pledge to yourself that you will take a plate first, and fill it with everything you want to eat. Only when you see your choices laid out in front of you can you really judge the portion size and amount of carbohydrates you'll be ingesting. (A favorite tool for carb counting is a popular little pocket guide called Calorie King.) For emphasis, let me repeat: no picking at food! You might be surprised how much this simple rule can help.
Be choosey about treats worth the splurge
Survey the spread at a party or holiday meal. Which of the high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods there are most irresistible to you? Which one or two things are you dying to try?
Try to fill up your plate with a mix of protein and vegetable choices first, and then save a small area where you'll have a taste of those treats you deemed splurge-worthy. Enjoy them once and then make a conscious decision to stop there. It helps to get up and walk to a spot farther away from the food table(s), if possible.
In addition, some people with diabetes tell me they take along cinnamon chewing gum or sugar free mints to pop in their mouths after they've eaten a reasonable portion. This helps keep their mouths busy and taste buds happy once they've eaten their fill.