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Staying fit through the holidays

'Tis the season to overindulge while visiting with loved ones near and far. Still, staying in control of your (or your child's) diabetes while having a good time is absolutely possible. Here are a few ideas to try as you bounce between holiday events.

Schedule time to exercise, even if you have to cut back a bit due to other commitments. Need to skip the gym because you're shopping for presents? Maybe take a brisk walk as you shop.

Know what's on the menu before you arrive at the party, and offer to bring a dish or two that you'll feel good about eating.

Plan something to do besides hanging around the dinner table. Go outside for a game of tag or a walk, or volunteer together. Anything that keeps you from 5 hours of snacking is a good thing.

Portion control is key during the season of plenty. Sure, each of those 9 side dishes looks great, but that doesn't mean you have to have a full serving of all of them. Eating a healthy snack beforehand can also help you avoid giving in to cravings.

Don't forget snacks and water. You're busier than usual running errands, going to parties, cooking, traveling or hosting guests. Make sure you stay hydrated and are ready for changes in mealtimes.

Plan to indulge. Don't say no to mama's world-famous carrot cake. Just pass on some of the carb-heavy side dishes at dinner and ignore the raised eyebrows by those who don't understand carb counts.

Say "no thank you" to offers of second helpings and drink refills that you don't want. It's not rude, it's about taking care of your health. If they insist, you don't have to justify what goes in your mouth. Besides, nothing ruins a good time like your blood sugar level flying out of control.

Check your blood glucose more frequently. Changes in your sleep, exercise and eating schedules can throw off your blood sugar, especially if you're snacking and drinking more than normal.

Create a healthy tradition this year. After all, holidays are all about tradition, and they have to start somewhere. It could be a diabetes-friendly dessert or a post-dinner snowball fight (or game of hide and seek, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere warm). Think about how to combine family, friends and what's good for all of you.   

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