SCAN Club Issue 4 2023

Eat Your Favorites and Keep Tabs on Your Diabetes

When you have diabetes, it can be challenging to eat during the holidays so that your blood sugar is under control. But you CAN do it! Take the quiz here for tips on how you can enjoy holiday feasts and control your blood sugar.

Graphic of empty plate and a cup of coffee.

1. You’re invited to a party but don’t know what’s on the menu. You:

A. Offer to bring a healthy dish to share with everyone.

B. Decide not to go, worrying you’ll be too tempted to eat something that’s not in your meal plan.

Smart choice for healthy eating with diabetes: A. Spending time with others is good for your health so don’t miss out on opportunities to meet new people or have time with family and friends because of your diabetes. Consider bringing a big salad, veggie dish or other healthy food to holiday parties so you can be sure there’s at least one dish that fits into your diabetes meal plan.

2. You’re meeting family for a holiday dinner tonight, so you prepare by:

A. Fasting all day so you can eat more of what you want at dinner.

B. Eating as you normally would during the day and planning for the healthy choices you’ll make during dinner.

Smart choice for healthy eating with diabetes: B. Instead of fasting to be able to indulge in a big meal later, try to eat about as many calories and carbs as you would on a regular day to keep your blood sugar under control. Fasting all day may have you so hungry by dinnertime you’ll eat more than is good for you.

3. It doesn’t feel like the holidays to you without cranberry sauce, but you know that eating it will boost your blood sugar. You say:

A. “I only eat cranberry sauce during the holidays. So, it’s OK to have a lot of it while I can.”

B. “I’m including cranberry sauce in my holiday meal planning but only every now and then, only in small amounts and not with other foods that might raise my blood sugar.”

Smart choice for healthy eating with diabetes: B. When you have diabetes, you can enjoy the foods you look forward to all year if you eat them in moderation. Adjust your diabetes meal plan to allow occasionally for small servings of the holiday dishes you really love. Then, choose to pass on the other unhealthy foods that mean less to you.

4. You’ll be staying with relatives for the holidays and won’t have control over mealtimes. You can:

A. Remind your hosts that keeping to a mealtime schedule helps you manage your blood sugar levels.

B. Plan for how you will make changes if mealtimes don’t line up with your regular meal or snack schedule.

Smart choice for healthy eating with diabetes: Both A and B! Letting your hosts know that meal planning is important to your diabetes will give them the opportunity to look for solutions that work for both of you. (Be sure to let them know you appreciate their support.) When mealtimes don’t match your schedule, have a snack at your usual eating time to maintain your blood sugar level, especially if you take insulin injections or pills.

5. You’re feeling guilty about not checking your blood sugar or watching what you eat so you:

A. Figure that since you’ve already “blown it” and are feeling okay, you’ll eat what you want now and pick up tracking your blood sugar and diet once the holidays are over.

B. Start planning how you’re going to get back to watching your diet and tracking your blood sugar as soon as possible.

Smart choice for healthy eating with diabetes: Both A and B! When you fall off the diabetes management wagon, jumping back on as soon as possible can prevent your diabetes from getting out of control and causing more serious problems down the road.

When living with diabetes, you’re likely to have more “bad” cholesterol than is good for you. With the help of a healthy diet, physical activity and medication, many people with diabetes can clean up their cholesterol to be at heart-healthy levels—and keep it that way.

There are two types of cholesterol in blood: LDL-C (the “bad” cholesterol) and HDL-C (“good” cholesterol).

Out With the Bad

Your doctor may prescribe a type of drug known as a statin to lower your bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Statins are proven to help people with diabetes by:

  • Lowering the amount of LDL-C, which can build up inside the arteries.
  • Making it less likely that cholesterol deposits in the arteries break off and cause blockages that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Ask your doctor if a statin may be helpful for you.

In With the Good

Just as having too much bad cholesterol is dangerous for your heart, not having enough of the good cholesterol can put you at higher risk for heart disease. To get more good cholesterol:

  1. If you smoke, take serious steps to quit—even cutting back helps.
  2. If you’re overweight, talk with your doctor about ways you can safely lose weight.
  3. Get moving! Doing more movement of any kind each day will make a positive difference.

Graphic showing a healthy ratio of foods on a plate.

You can keep your diabetes in check and still enjoy your favorite holiday foods by making smart food choices, paying attention to portion sizes and tracking when you eat.

If you have don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan, take a look at the comprehensive coverage, award-winning service, and extensive network of caring physicians offered by SCAN Health Plan.

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