How to navigate the holidays with diabetes

While the holidays are packed with parties, baking, and traveling, it can be difficult to stay on track with your health goals.

Surviving the hotels with this, let alone with a disease such as diabetes, can make it even more challenging. Follow 6 tips to learn how to continue with your health goals and manage your diabetes this holiday season.

  1. Stay consistent with your eating routine

Busy schedules, parties, and traveling can make it tricky to stay in your routine. When we’re out of our routine, we’re more likely to indulge in foods we don’t normally eat, binge and overeat, or choose foods that don’t nourish our body. While there are lots of things that will be out of our control, what you choose to eat is in your control. Eating at least some of your usual meals and snacks can help to keep things on track. This is especially important with diabetes, as blood sugar management is so important! 

  1. Don’t skip meals

It’s not advised to skip meals when managing diabetes during the holidays for multiple reasons. Firstly, with diabetes, a skipped meal can cause a drop in blood sugar. This can be especially dangerous for those on medications. Skipping meals also isn’t recommended in general because when skipping a meal, whether on purpose or not, you typically end up overeating later on. Overeating results in greater caloric, fat, and sodium intake than if you ate on your regular routine (like #1 above!).


  1. Put food on a plate and avoid grazing

With the holidays comes snacking and appetizers galore! While we do believe that all foods can fit and that you should and can enjoy yourself, sometimes we can overdo it during the holiday season. Instead of mindlessly grazing and not paying attention to what or how much you are eating, put food on a plate so you are more purposeful.

  1. Don’t forget your balanced plate

When eating meals during the holidays, we oftentimes tend to make our portion sizes larger than normal and filled with foods that we don’t usually eat. While this is OK on occasion, it is important to make sure that you’re focus on your balanced plate at most meals. What do we mean by this? Aim to make your plate:

  • ½ fruits and vegetables
  • ¼ complex carb
  • ¼ lean protein

With this balanced plate in mind, you’re setting yourself up for success! You can also think of this plate as having the most color as possible. Not sure what foods fit into these categories? We’ll cover each below.

Fruits and vegetables: this one is easy! Include any of your favorite colorful fruits and vegetables. The main goal of this section is to make your plate as colorful as possible.

Complex carb: complex carbs provide us with fiber so we can feel full and satisfied longer. Some of our favorite complex carb sources include brown rice, oats, or quinoa.

Lean protein: lean protein has less saturated fat, (the “bad” fat,) than fattier protein sources. This reduces our risk of heart disease and aids in weight management. Some of our favorite lean sources of protein include chickpeas, chicken, black beans, fish, or tofu.


Some of our favorite meals on our menu right now include:

  1. Keep moving 

Since it usually is cooler in the holiday months, we tend to spend less time moving than normally. This means that we spend less time moving, and more time eating! Moving not only exerts calories, but it also reduces stress, improves our mental health, and improves our mood. Aim to go for a walk each day for at least 30 minutes this holiday season. 

Exercise is so important for those with diabetes. Physical activity has been shown to reduce A1C levels (the lab value that diagnoses you with diabetes,) and manage weight. These are both great ways to manage diabetes.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Drink more water!! With more food and usually more alcohol, we tend to drink less water than we need or normally do. Aim to consume at least 64 fl oz, or 8 glasses, of water per day. It can be helpful to swap between an alcoholic beverage and water to continue to stay hydrated. If you usually forget to drink water, set a timer on your phone, have a accountability partner, or download a water reminder app on your phone.

No matter how you’re spending your holidays this year, here at Pure Plates, we understand how difficult it can be to manage your diabetes and stay on track with your health goals during the holiday season. We’re here to make it easier for you – let us cook for you! That way, you can focus on other things like drinking enough water and moving your body.

Have questions? Contact us here.