Chinese New Year Holidays are times of annual celebration full of family gatherings and reunion dinners, but for people living with diabetes, they can also be times of temptation. During the celebration, we tend to socialize with friends and family over meals, which means there’s a lot of food on the table. Bak kwa, pineapple tart, sugary or salty high-calorie dishes, and other home-baked goods are served in endless quantities. Yet for people with diabetes, it’s kinda overwhelming and challenging to balance between indulging into these mouth-watering dishes with sticking on a diabetes management plan to keep blood sugar in control.
The good news is, by planning ahead and a little preparation then you’ll be able to manage your glucose under control. Here are tips and strategies to navigate your diet during Chinese New Year Celebration:
DO NOT SKIP EATING ON YOUR REGULAR MEAL-TIME
First and foremost important advice is do not skip eating breakfast or any of your usual mealtime just to save the appetite for the festive feats. This action of skipping meals can cause overeating which leads to the dropping then spiking of your blood sugar levels. Instead, eat a small portion of healthy nutritious food at home before heading to parties in order to minimize cravings.
PREPARE YOUR SNACKS
If you’re going to be out all day, don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks to avoid suffering from low sugar conditions during the time when the food is served later than your regular schedule. My go-tos are oat bars, fruits, or Glucerna Triple Care Milk for a safer choice as it’s particularly formulated for people with diabetes.
BE SELECTIVE ON WHAT TO EAT
When attending a reunion dinner with a buffet setting, walk around to survey all the food and beverage selection available in the first place before you fill up your plate. This way you’ll be able to decide thoughtfully on picking up your most favourite dishes that are hard to resist, healthy choices that are good for your diabetes regime, and avoid the rest of the menu that you don’t really want, need or those that you can easily enjoy on a daily basis.
MODERATION IS KEY
Be mindful of the food portion because eating too much on certain things can affect negatively on your blood sugar level. An easy strategy to control servings of each food category is by visualizing your round plate being divided into four sections; one quarter for protein (fish, skinless chicken, etc), one quarter for carbohydrates (brown rice, potatoes, grains, etc), and the remaining half of your plate for non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, etc). If you plan on having a small portion of your favorite sweet treats or desserts, you can either reduce or cut back your carbs during the main meal.
As for beverages, opt for a non-added sugar varian to avoid unwanted calorie addition and remember to drink enough water to stay hydrated and energized. The key component to maintaining blood sugar on a normal level is by keeping your total carbohydrate intake similar to a regular day.