5 Tips to Stay in Range for the Holidays

5 Tips to Stay in Range for the Holidays

The holidays are all about family and festivities, but a whole lot of food usually shows up at these holiday gatherings. All of this food, activity and travel can disrupt your normal routine — and the celebrations can last for weeks.

How can you stick to your meal plan and keep your blood sugar in range while still enjoying the holidays?

It’s not always easy. But with a little planning, it’s possible!

Table of contents

  1. Start with a Plan
  2. Know How to Deal with Buffets
  3. Drink Responsibly
  4. Make Some Recipe Modifications
  5. Take Small Steps to Success
  6. Sources

1. Start with a Plan

You know you’ll see plenty of tempting treats, and you can’t always control what might be served. The best thing you can do is to have a plan for making good choices.

  • Eat as close to normal times as you can to keep blood sugar levels steady. If meals will be served later than you normally eat, have a snack at the usual time and go with smaller portions at dinner.
  • Don’t try skipping meals to save up carbs and calories for the day. It’s hard to manage blood sugar when you skip meals. It’s also easier to overeat when you’re extra hungry.
  • If you get invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy dish you know you can enjoy.
  • Be selective with your food choices. Of course include your favorites, but ensure that you still watch your portion sizes. You can even use the Diabetes Plate Method for guidance.
  • Don’t forget to plan time to check blood sugar levels and take your medicines. Missing a dose will make it harder to stay in range.

2. Know How to Deal with Buffets

You’re likely to face a few buffet meals. Here are a few suggestions to help make healthy choices easier.

  • Start by eating some vegetables. They’re a healthy choice and will take the edge off your hunger.
  • Survey all the foods at the buffet before you make your choices. Then decide based on the foods you want most.
  • Fill up most of your plate with healthy foods, saving a little room for other favorites that aren’t as healthy.
  • Go with small portions of your favorites. You can always come back to the buffet.
  • Eat slowly. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that you’re full.

3. Drink Responsibly

During the holidays, you’ll not only have to make careful food choices, but you need to think about the drinks you choose.

  • Skip beverages with sugar. Go with flavored sparkling water, plain water or another sugar-free option.
  • If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, choose non-mixed drinks like scotch on the rocks. Mixed drinks often include liqueurs that are packed with sugar.
  • Make sure to get a glass of water in between other drinks to help ensure you stay hydrated.
  • Be sure you eat if you’re having an alcoholic drink.
  • Remember alcohol can affect blood sugar levels for as long as 24 hours. Monitor it closely after you have a drink.

4. Make Some Recipe Modifications

Are you the one cooking for the holidays? Maybe you’ve been asked to bring a dish? If so, you can adapt some of your favorite holiday recipes to make them healthier and more diabetes-friendly. Some easy ideas include:

  • Try half-mashed potatoes with cauliflower or “sweet” potato fries instead of mashed potatoes to help lower your carb intake.
  • Sucrose and some artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar, so consider baking/cooking with natural sweeteners in small amounts instead (e.g stevia, monk fruit, honey, dates, maple syrup).
  • You can still enjoy baked goods, just try to swap the white flour for something with less of an impact on your blood sugar levels (e.g almond flour, coconut flour, soy flour, “Keto” wheat flour, or flaxseed meal). Keep in mind though that not all flours can be swapped 1:1. Check out this conversion chart to help you adjust your recipe.

5. Take Small Steps to Success

Keeping your blood sugar in range during the holidays is all about taking small steps, such as:

  • Budget carbs for sweet treats. If you’re going to have dessert (and we know you want to!) lower your carb intake during your meal.
  • Take a walk after you eat. Even a 20-minute walk can go a long way towards helping you manage your blood sugar and stay in range.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep to compensate for your disrupted schedule during the holidays. Poor sleep can make it tougher to manage blood sugar.
  • There’s an app for that! Many mobile apps can help you manage your diet and diabetes. They’re especially useful when eating outside your normal routine during the holidays. Check out the mySugr app to experience the convenience of automatic blood sugar logging, and enjoy the holiday festivities with peace of mind.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/holidays-healthy-eating.html
  2. https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/6-tips-for-a-happy-healthy-holiday-with-diabetes.html
  3. https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/better-me/tips-to-keep-type-2-diabetes-in-check-this-holiday-season
  4. https://diabetes.org/health-wellness/weight-management/stay-pn-track-during-holidays
  5. https://beyondtype1.org/holidays-drinks-desserts-recipes-swaps/
  6. https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/how-to-balance-blood-sugar-during-the-holidays-5-strategies
  7. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/5/e98

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