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CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — To help diabetics get through the hectic and often tempting holiday season, U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa is holding a first-time event to help them avoid sweet temptations.

A Diabetes Holiday Survival Workshop is scheduled in the hospital galley on Nov. 16 beginning at 3 p.m. The workshop is geared toward diabetics, but those who help care for diabetics also are invited, said Navy Lt. Tinsika Riggs, dietitian at the hospital.

Along with the holidays comes elevated stress, Riggs said, and for those with diabetes, the combination of hectic schedules and constant temptations of sweets makes it hard to control blood glucose levels. “This workshop is designed to give our diabetic patients and their families the tools to assist them with better blood glucose control without taking out the fun and festivities of the holiday season,” Riggs said.

Everything from surviving holiday buffets, potlucks and parties to low-sugar recipes and meal timing will be covered.

“Many diabetics do a very good job controlling their diabetes during the holidays,” Riggs said. “However, one danger could be an all-or-nothing mentality. This typically happens when someone decides that good blood glucose control would be too hard to maintain, so they abandon all those things that have kept them in good control throughout the year.”

Riggs added that family members aren’t helpful if they “love with food.” While offering a second helping may be an expression of love, Riggs said it could send a diabetic’s blood glucose level through the roof. She said family members could show their love instead by offering low-sugar desserts or just going for a walk or talking after dinner.

Other topics to be covered during the workshop include time-saving ideas, food safety and part-time portion control ideas.

Batch cooking and freezing meals in pre-portioned servings, using slow cookers and packing healthy lunches the night before are good time-saving steps, Riggs said. They help prevent poor eating habits that can lead to poor glucose control.

Food-safety tips are especially important to diabetics, Riggs said, because they have a harder time than the general population fighting off foodborne illness.

Tips include the following:

Wash hands often.Thoroughly clean kitchen counters.Wash and replace sponges often.Don’t go to parties or buffets on an empty stomach. Have a snack consisting of one serving of a carbohydrate and one ounce of protein before going.Request or bring healthy dishes.Riggs said using these tips allows diabetics to enjoy parties without feeling guilty or out of control.

Visit diabetes.org/nutrition, or diabetes.niddk.nih.gov for more information on diabetes and nutrition.

For more information on the upcoming workshop, call Lt. Tinsika Riggs at 643-7502.

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