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Diabetics can enjoy sweeter side of season with planning

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Sugar flows endlessly during the holiday season at home with the family, at work and holiday parties. Getting through the holiday season when you have diabetes can be challenging, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a holiday meal. It just takes some planning.

"Diabetes is usually treated by diet, exercise and medication," said Raynelle Shelley, registered dietitian at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock. "But the hectic pace of the holidays, along with an abundance of rich foods, can interfere with healthy routines."

Here are some ways people with diabetes can relish the holiday season without stressing about a health setback.

Try revising dessert recipes. The American Diabetes Association recommends replacing half the sugar in a recipe with a sugar substitute and increasing the use of sweet-tasting spices and flavorings like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Moderation is key. Check with a dietitian, who can develop an individualized meal plan. Holiday desserts, like a small slice of pumpkin pie or a cookie, can be incorporated into a meal plan as a treat, Shelley said.

Plan your meals ahead. The ADA recommends deciding ahead of time not only how much you will eat, but how you will handle social pressure. Consider grabbing a buddy to join you in a walk when the dessert is out on the table, or decline excess treats by saying, "No, thank you. I'm too full."

Take your medications.. Shelley recommends being consistent about the timing of your meals to avoid low blood sugar.

—Nancy Flores