People with diabetes, or those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, can still enjoy the festive season, as long as they include some physical activity and eat treats in moderation, is Diabetes UK's Christmas message.
Although traditional Christmas foods such as mince pies and Christmas cake tend to be higher in fat and calories than other foods, meaning that they may cause blood glucose levels to rise, this is not to say that they have to be ruled out completely.
No need to miss out
Diabetes UK Clinical Advisor Cathy Moulton said, "Eating at Christmas is part of the fun, and there’s no need to completely miss out on certain foods. That said, people with diabetes and those diagnosed with prediabetes – people with higher-than-normal blood glucose levels – should try to be aware of foods which are very high in fat and sugar and not have too many at once.
"You can choose healthy versions of classic Christmas dishes to make sure you’re still looking after yourself. This might mean following recipes that are lower in fat or which include fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates. We have a range of festive recipes to try including roast turkey with fruity stuffing, super sprouts and – for those with a sweet tooth – Christmas-style profiteroles. It’s also a good idea to keep healthy snacks, such as vegetable crudités, olives or dried fruit around the house so that you’re not tempted to go overboard with the selection boxes."
Don't get stuck on the sofa
In order to control blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood fats and to manage weight, people with diabetes – both Type 1 and Type 2 – should make sensible food choices and keep physically active.
"It may be tempting to stay stuck on the sofa around Christmas, but there are lots of easy and fun ways to fit in some physical activity, which is particularly important for using up extra calories after a large meal. A brisk walk with the family is a great way to reflect on the year gone by and stay active – and it still counts if it’s in a shopping centre checking out the sales. Jumping about with the kids, dancing at a party, or skating at the local ice rink all help towards keeping healthy during a typically overindulgent period.
"We’re all prone to eating a bit too much and even gaining a few pounds on special occasions, so there’s no need to feel guilty. But if there’s room on your list of New Year’s Resolutions then try and fit in some extra physical activity for overall health," said Cathy.
We recommend that people with diabetes speak to a registered dietitian for specific questions about eating.