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By Claire Chiasson, LDN, RDN, Registered/Licensed Dietitian
Mardi Gras is known as a time of indulgence, but for those suffering from diabetes, Carnival season can be challenging. With plenty of king cakes to sample, it can be hard to stay on track and keep blood sugars under control. Following these simple tips to enjoy Mardi Gras without sacrificing your health!
- Stick to your regular eating pattern. It’s tempting to skip meals, such as breakfast or lunch, in order to “save up” for a larger meal later in the day. This can lead to blood sugar imbalance and cause you to overeat. A balanced eating pattern includes three meals per day with adequate snacks in between for blood sugar control. Try to be consistent and eat around the same times from day to day.
- Practice mindful eating when indulging in high-calorie foods. Make sure to take small bites, eat slowly, and chew your food thoroughly. This allows your brain to recognize that you are getting full and helps prevent overeating, which can lead to weight gain and elevated blood sugars.
- Stick to your regular portion sizes. Follow the plate method to make sure you are including low calorie, non-starchy vegetables on your plate. Fill 1/4 of your plate with protein such as chicken, fish, or other lean meat; 1/4 of your plate with a starch such as pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes; and 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and salad. This method will allow you to eat a full plate and enjoy your favorite foods while maintaining proper portion control.
- Choose your calories wisely! Avoid “empty calorie” drinks. Choose water most of the time, and steer clear of sugary soft drinks, sweet teas, and fruity drinks which can quickly add calories and spike your blood-sugar levels. If you choose to drink alcohol, eat healthy snacks to fill your stomach and avoid overindulging, and always talk with your doctor about whether or not alcohol is safe for you.
- Continue to exercise! Stick to your regular exercise schedule, even on busy days filled with parades. Start your day with some type of movement, or go for a walk with family after meals to help lower post-meal blood glucose levels.