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November is National Diabetes Month
Tips on how you can have a healthy holiday season
Living With Diabetes: Keeping the Holiday Season Healthy
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. With the right knowledge and skills, people with diabetes can learn to manage their own disease, maintain good health and prevent complications. Sometimes, it can be as easy as a few lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise and sometimes it may mean adding medicine to your regimen. The highly skilled staff and ADA-recognized diabetes education program at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center provides patients and their families with a variety of education options, ranging from classes to seminars to one-on-one counseling — all designed to encourage patients to take control of their health.
"Most patients we see with diabetes want to take good care of themselves, but may not know how or where to start," says Cheryl Cummings, RN, CDE, and clinical coordinator for Diabetes Services at Northwest Hospital. "One of the most satisfying parts of my job is working collaboratively with patients, dieticians and physicians to achieve a common goal — a patient’s self-management of his or her diabetes. We try to make our classes and counseling informative, supportive and fun at the same time."
Cummings says that at this time of year, discussions in her classes often turn to the challenges that holiday parties, treats and eating out present for people with diabetes.
"High sugar and fat intake can wreak havoc with blood sugars and lipid levels," says Northwest Hospital Dietician Tricia Clement. "But there are still lots of ways to enjoy and participate fully in
holiday festivities while still successfully managing your diabetes."
According to Clement, these methods include lightening meals by modifying recipes and portion sizes, choosing alternatives to alcoholic beverages and using healthier foods and flavorings.
"We give our patients a lot of suggestions for how to replace the fats, sugars and starches in holiday meals with healthy, diabetes-friendly ingredients that are just as delicious."
Sources of fat in holiday meals include:
Sources of sugars and starches in holiday meals include:
- Meats, gravy, sauces, butter
- Dips, salad dressings, sour cream, toppings
- Cheese, olives, nuts, crackers
- Eggnog, cream in coffee, whipped toppings
- Cookies, candy, desserts
- Eating out more often than usual, especially fast food
"Substitutions don’t have to be difficult or significantly change the flavor of favorite holiday foods," says Clement. "Simple flavor boosters like sautéing with lemon or wine, using fresh herbs, using salsas, seasoned vinegars or mustards can make dishes healthy and appealing."
- Sweets: candies, cookies, cakes, pies
- Fruit, gelatin salads
- Sweetened beverages
- Bread, rolls
- Stuffing, potatoes, yams, peas
For more information about diabetes education and counseling opportunities at Northwest
Hospital, visit nwhospital.org/classes/classes_diabetes.asp or call 206.368.1564. A physician’s referral is required to register for diabetes classes. Diabetes education is covered by most insurance plans.