The holidays are in full swing, and everyone is preparing for their yearly traditions with loved ones.
However, a lot of these traditions revolve around food… and not all of these holiday foods are good for us.
In fact, a lot of our favorite treats and feasts are made up of ingredients that can lead to a huge spike in our blood sugar.
When our blood sugar is frequently high, our risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes increases.
Blood sugar spikes are usually more common with foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, such as refined grains and foods full of added sugar.
But not everyone has the same responses to these foods, and while Grandma’s sugar cookies might not affect your blood sugar, your favorite slice of pumpkin pie could cause a spike.
Here are some of the most common holiday foods and food-related behaviors that could raise your blood sugar.
#1: The Desserts
This one is obvious.
Sweets like cookies, cakes, and pies are all very common during the holiday season, and your family’s traditions may revolve around specific desserts.
But these foods are loaded with added sugar, refined grain products like white flour, and other ingredients that can raise your glucose, such as honey, molasses, and marshmallows.
Instead of eating all the desserts during the holidays, remember to keep your portions moderate.
Have a small serving of one dessert at the end of the night, and refrain from snacking on sweets throughout the day.
If you’re craving a healthier alternative, try a dessert that doesn’t contain any added sugars or very little added sugar, such as fresh fruit, baked apples with cinnamon, or a small piece of dark chocolate with a high cacao content.
One of our favorite accompaniments to a holiday feast are the potatoes. Whether you eat them fried, mashed, or baked, these starchy veggies can provide richness to your meal.
However, potatoes are very high in carbohydrates – according to Nutritionix, one cup of mashed potatoes can contain 36 grams of carbs, and we often eat more than that.
To limit this food’s impact on your blood sugar, remember to keep your portions moderate.
Enjoy a half-cup of mashed potatoes or a few pieces of roasted ones with the skins, or split your baked potato with a family member.
#3: Binging at Holiday Feasts
The key to keeping your blood sugar in check? Keeping your portions moderate and watching how much you eat.
A small slice of pie might not spike your glucose severely, but having two slices of pie, a half-pound of mashed potatoes, a bowl of stuffing, ham with glaze, and five rolls can contain lots of carbohydrates.
The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar is likely to rise. If you binge on large portions of your favorite holiday foods at dinner, you can cause a higher spike than if you had a small portion of each food.
While these holiday foods are very likely to cause a blood sugar spike, your glucose responses are unique to you.
Everyone has a different response to different foods, and your blood sugar behaves differently from everyone else you know.
The only way you can know if a holiday food can spike your blood sugar is by testing your unique responses using a glucometer.
Happy holidays, and enjoy your festivities in a glucose-friendly way!