Fasting and feasting

WHATS ON YOUR PLATE?

Fasting and feasting

 If you have been eating far too much, step up your exercise routine. Put on some music and dance, or play an extra round of tennis.

India is a land of festivals. The best thing about the Indian winter is, without  doubt, the number of festivals that we enjoy. The months from September to December are great for our social life but bad for our health unless we exercise some caution.

Hello, Sugar!

Many people find it hard to refuse the sweet and creamy temptations offered by well meaning friends and relatives during the holiday season. Diabetics, who must watch their sugar intake, are no different. They may learn to say a firm, ‘No, thank you’, but invariably many succumb to the lure of rosogullas, ladoos, kheer and gulab jamuns that have come to mark the end of an elaborate, traditional meal.

With the right game plan, people with diabetes can maintain their blood sugar without depriving themselves. Here are a few tips to get started:

*Monitor sugar level and keep track of medicines: You may need to test your sugar level more frequently during special occasions and adjust your medication accordingly. Discuss with your doctor how you can enjoy an occasional treat without harming your health.

*Maintain consistent meal times and practice portion control: A small serving  is less likely to upset blood sugar level.

*Follow a regular exercise routine; get up and get moving: Here’s a simple trade-off. If you are going to eat more during the festive season, compensate by increasing the time spent on your morning walk or at the gym.

Party hard, party smart

While going for a party or a family reunion:

*Check your sugar level before you leave so you have a fair idea of where your medication, drinks, food and dancing can take you.

*Never go to a party hungry. If you’ve already eaten, you’ll be less likely to binge or eat all the wrong food.

*Look at the entire buffet table before you eat anything. Choose low-fat food. At parties and other social events, gravitate toward the salad bar and the fresh fruit counter. When choosing a meal, try to choose food that is grilled or steamed. Limit your intake of fried, creamy, buttery goodies or those are served with rich sauces.

*If you are tempted to eat dessert or a high-calorie snack, appease your craving with a small serving. Either increase your insulin dosage slightly on such an occasion if you are on insulin, or burn those extra calories with a spirited game of football the next morning.

*If you want to drink, then don’t drink on an empty stomach. The effects of alcohol can last well into the next day, so test your sugar level more frequently and be extra careful through the following 24 hours. Snack on roasted rather than fried food when you are drinking.

*Water is preferable to fizzy or alcoholic drinks. Drink plenty of water. This tactic may keep you from drinking too much or gorging on fattening food.

*Undue exertion may lead to hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. Make sure there is some candy or sugar in your hand bag or pocket.

Host with the most...

When you are hosting a party, set an example. Here’s what you could do:

*Serve sweets and desserts made from artificial sweeteners: Preparing sweets without using sugar not only helps for people with diabetes, but also goes a long way towards prevention of diabetes.

*Offer a variety of fruit instead of traditional mithai or creamy desserts. Fruits in the form of fruit cocktails, chaats, fruit salads and fresh fruit sorbets not only provide guests with a large variety of dishes to select from, but will also satisfy their sweet tooth in a healthy way.

*Use healthy oils and low-fat dairy products.

*Microwave, grill or roast snacks instead of deep frying them.

*Use healthy dips for cocktail snacks like a yoghurt and mint dip. Provide finger foods like cucumber and carrot sticks, toasted croutons and low-fat cheese instead of crisps, samosas or cutlets. nCheese and fruit platters and bowls of nuts are great for everyone as they can indulge without feeling guilty.

People with diabetes can look forward to the holiday season as long as they remember that the game plan doesn’t start at the dining table; it must include the entire day’s food intake as well as exercise.

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