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Diwali is only a few days away! This year, November 14 marks the start of more than five days of continuous Diwali festivities—traditionally marked with endless social gatherings and dinners with loved ones. Although this year, celebrations will look a little different with fewer people gathering in person and social distancing, or even virtual get togethers. What may not be different, however is the mounds of sugar-laced sweets and processed, dried fruits that come with this magnificent festival of lights. The traditional celebratory foods of Diwali are often high in calories and sugar. Eating too much of these can make blood sugar control and weight management a challenge for people living with diabetes.

If you’re living with diabetes, don’t fret! There are several ways you can enjoy the festivities while keeping your blood sugar on-track:

  • Follow your regular healthy meal plan throughout the day and a healthy snack prior to the festivities, this way you will be less likely to overindulge.
  • Practice portion control. Taking smaller portions of sweet foods will allow you to get a good taste of Diwali without losing control of your blood sugar levels.
  • Cut portions of sweet foods into halves or quarters, so you can enjoy more variety of sweets.
  • If cooking for Diwali, try more baking and less frying. Substituting low-fat milk for whole milk or reducing the sugar by half or using an artificial sweetener will also make a huge difference.
  • Have an idea of the number of carbohydrates you want to eat at a meal. Realistically, you will most likely eat a bit more than you usually do. Setting the number too low may leave you feeling deprived.
  • If you take insulin with your meals and normally adjust the amount to cover any extra carbohydrates you might eat, keep in mind that extra insulin will help take care of the extra carbs, but not the extra calories and hence can lead to weight gain.
  • Test your blood sugar levels at regular intervals, so you know how your food decisions are affecting you.
  • Don’t skip physical activity. Aim for about 30 minutes of walking or other aerobic type exercise each day during Diwali festivities. Balance the extra calories taken in with more calories burned off.
  • Take part in dance exercise to celebrate Diwali. This is a great way to burn off some calories consumed. 
  • Choose water or unsweetened teas as your beverage of choice. The extra calories and sugar from sweetened beverages like pop, juices, or alcoholic drinks can take you off track.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Diwali!

Category Tags: Special Populations;

Region: National