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5 Tips for Managing Blood Sugar this Fall and Winter

With the colder weather approaching, you might notice some changes in your blood glucose levels. This can be for a number of different reasons, such as changes in what you’re eating, your physical activity level or even the temperature outside. Here are some helpful tips to help keep your readings steady through the changing seasons.

  • Brush up on carbohydrate counting. Winter months may come with an increase in carbohydrate intake as we switch from cold salads and grilled meats to warm and comforting soups, stews and casseroles. These mixed dishes can sometimes be a challenge to carb count for, especially if they are home made or come without a food label. If you have a favorite home made recipe that you enjoy often, consider taking the time to calculate the carbohydrate in your recipe. While it can be tedious to do the first time, once its done you’ll have a good idea of how much to count each time you enjoy your home made favorites. Check out this great online article that outlines the steps: https://waltzingthedragon.ca/diabetes/nutrition-excercise/carb-counting-mixed-recipe-home-baking/. This article focuses on baked goods, but the same steps can be used for any mixed dish.

    As always, if you think you might need a carb counting refresher, please feel free to attend a free LMC Diabetes Education virtual workshop: https://acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=15031958

  • Make sure your insulin is stored correctly. You may have heard that your insulin can be affected by the heat, but did you know it can also be damaged by the cold? It’s recommended to never use insulin that’s been frozen, so be sure to bring in your prescriptions from the car after a trip to the pharmacy. Change out your reservoir, pod or cartridge in your insulin pump early if you think the insulin has been frozen after spending a day outside in the cold. Keeping your insulin close to your body when you’re out on cold winter days (think ski days, for example), can help prevent it from freezing.

  • Keep active. Similar to a changes in diet, we also may be less active in the winter. Summer activities seem endless and fun-filled while fall and winter may bring visions of darker evenings, colder weather and snow shovelling. You may have to be creative to find activities you enjoy in the fall and winter. Fall is a great time to go hiking and biking through scenic trails. Once the winter weather hits, try brining your exercise indoors with some home workouts (DVDs, online exercise classes etc), or bundle up and enjoy winter activities such as skating, snow shoeing or skiing. Check out your local community centre for indoor exercise options at an affordable price.

    You may notice you need more insulin in general if you are less active in the fall and winter. This is because exercise can increase insulin sensitivity. Speak to your healthcare team if you think your insulin doses need changing and you need help.

  • Stay on track with meal planning and preparation. Summer may feel more relaxed with longer days and kids being out of school. Fall and winter brings back-to-school and major holidays to prepare for. This can make it difficult to stay on track with healthy meals. For a busy week ahead, check out Diabetes Canada’s 1 week meal plans: https://diabetes.ca/nutrition—fitness/meal-planning/7-day-diabetes-meal-plan.

    Looking for more meal tips? Check out the LMC Diabetes Education ‘Meal Planning’ virtual workshop for more tips on staying on track with meal planning. Click here to register: https://acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=15031958.

  • Don’t forget to “fall back”. Daylight savings time ends on November 5th this year. If you’re using an insulin pump, don’t forget to change the time on your pump, along with all of your other devices to ensure that you’re getting the right insulin delivered at the right time. Changing the time on your meter and sensor can also help you and your healthcare team make sure that you’re correctly identifying when patterns are happening.

While summer seems to always go by so fast, there are so many great things to look forward to and enjoy in the fall and winter. We hope you can embrace some fun fall activities and enjoy your favorite comfort foods this season, along with spending quality time with family and friends during the many holidays that will be celebrated in the coming months.

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