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Control Your Diabetes AND Enjoy the Holiday Use your diabetes control techniques and enjoy the holidays simultaneously. Your planning and preparedness will allow you to stay in control. Remember your days as a Girl/Boy Scout and always “Be Prepared.” 1. MAINTAIN your exercise program. It is no longer too hot to walk anytime of the day so get it done every day. Stay on track with your daily walk or visit to your gym. Stop at a park on your way to your next stop and walk around the park. Exercise increases your oxygen flow throughout your body and maintains your metabolism. 2. HAVE A PLAN for every event. Going somewhere? Take a dish or food plate that is appropriate for your eating plan. Take lots of vegetables, and always some protein. 3. HAVE SNACKS AVAILABLE throughout the day. As we get busier shopping, visiting friends and going to parties, we have to anticipate meal times and add a small snack if meal time is delayed. Carry a small bag of nuts, beef jerky or a string cheese or protein drink or protein bar. The snack will help to keep your blood sugar stable, avoiding low blood sugar or rebound high blood sugar. Either one can result in cravings for inappropriate foods. 4. SERVE YOURSELF SMALL PORTIONS. Be careful to take the protein and vegetables first. This will limit the space left for carbohydrates. Desserts are added carbohydrates, calories and definitely will elevate your blood sugar. A few bites of a dessert won’t do that much damage. 5. PLAN AHEAD for your dinner menu. Planning a week of meals allows you to have the ingredients available and not have to go to the grocery store daily. 6. STAY HYDRATED throughout each day. As the temperatures get cooler, we tend to drink less water throughout the day. Being dehydrated can often time be masked as hunger. Buy yourself a new insulated cup to keep your water or sparkling water available while you drive or at your desk. The holidays are a season of giving. Be sure to “give” to your own body first and you will have much more energy to give to others. Enjoy the holidays – enjoy friends and family – keep your diabetes in control. Susan J. Smith, Ph.D., CDE Certified Diabetes Educator Visalia Medical Clinic Susan has worked as a certified diabetes educator since 1988. In addition to individual consultations, she hosts a community diabetes seminar every month at Visalia Medical Clinic. Open to all community members, the next seminar is Monday, Nov. 14, from 9-10 am or 5:30-6:30 pm at Visalia Medical Clinic. 2. The next component on the label to look at is the Total Carbohydrates. 15 grams of carbohydrate = 1 serving. Included in the carbohydrate category is Dietary Fiber and Sugars. These 2 listings are indented under the Total Carbohydrate category. This means that these subgroups are already counted in the Total Carbohydrate category, so they don’t need to be counted again. If the carbohydrate category is between 30-45 grams, it should be appropriate for that meal. It is a common mistake for consumers to just look at the Sugar in a product to determine if a product is appropriate or not. 3. The third important listing on the label is Protein. As was mentioned last month, it is important to combine protein with carbohydrate at a meal to slow down the breakdown of the carbohydrates into sugar. If the ratio of protein:carbohydrate is minimum 1:3, this would be an appropriate food to purchase. If the product has very low protein content, then we need to add a source of protein along with that product at the meal. There are other important things to notice on a food label, which we will discuss in another monthly article. Challenge for the month: Read some labels of foods in your pantry or cupboard. When shopping, pick 4-5 products that you usually buy. Look and analyze the food label. If it isn’t appropriate, look for another brand of the same product that may be a better fit of the criteria for that food product.