How to Stay Healthy and Still have a Wonderful Holiday

Holiday Meals can be Delicious and also Healthy

The holiday season is upon us and we are getting warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that we have to enjoy the holidays, but stay safe from gaining weight, from too much snacking and from overeating at the holiday tables.

The holiday season can be especially difficult for diabetics and people on special diets. You sit down to a wonderful festive meal with friends or family, but alas half of what is in front of you is technically forbidden food! Everyone around you is splurging and saving their diet for a New Year’s resolution. “Next year I will start my diet!” Here are some tips to help you get through this happy time of year and also remain healthy.


If you are a diabetic, try to eat meals at the same times you normally do to keep your blood sugar level in balance. This may be much more difficult to do when you are invited out to a holiday meal. Rather than wait extra-long hours to eat, you should eat some small portion of food as a snack and if necessary just eat less at the holiday meal.

Alcoholic Drinks

These are especially dangerous for diabetics, as alcohol can play havoc with blood sugar levels and interact in a bad way with diabetes medicines. If you must drink, then drink with your meal rather than on an empty stomach.

Special Diets

The best situation for people on special diets is to be invited to a pot luck party where you can bring along one of your own special dishes and then at least you will have something that you can safely eat, rather than being hungry and tempted to eat all kinds of foods that are not healthy for you.

People with Food Allergies

If you have a strong allergy to some kind of food like nuts or eggs or milk and you could get a dangerous, even life-threatening allergic reaction, you must be super careful. Do not trust your eyes. That cake may have finely ground nuts or 10 eggs or contain milk. Desert foods like cakes and cookies are the most potentially dangerous foods for people with food allergies, as you cannot see with your eyes what the ingredients are. Also, even foods that do not list your allergy on their ingredient list may not be 100% accurate, as some of the same food processing machines may also be used for foods you are allergic to and may contain traces of the allergens. Best to eat an apple rather than apple cake or pie or bring your own.

People Trying to Lose Weight

This is the most difficult time of year for people who are on diets to lose weight. The ideal holiday meal would be with people like yourself, a kind of festive weight watchers meal, but this is seldom the case. Try to start the meal with the lowest calorie foods like salads and vegetables to fill you up a bit, so that hopefully you will eat less of the more fattening foods.

Eat More Slowly

The CDC suggests that people try to eat more slowly, as it takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize that you are full. People who wolf their food down will inevitably also have trouble keeping their weight down.

Move More and Walk More

Since this is such a high calorie season make more of an effort to do some good brisk walking or some other kind of physical exercise. Since you are eating more, you should exercise more. If the weather outside is not suitable for walking, then take a good walk around the mall.

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York

If you or your loved one are a resident at the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York, you will be in great hands for festive holiday meals. Van Duyn’s chef makes delicious meals, keeping in mind the health needs of the residents, so there may be reduced salt and sugar when necessary. Also, you or your loved one can get meals tailored to your health needs. To read more about amenities like dining at Van Duyn see our blog post from May 30, 2018.


We should all enjoy the holidays and do everything to also stay healthy!!

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