Tag Archives: self-care

5 Healthy Holiday Tips For Diabetics + Brownie Recipe!

by Lauren Bongiorno

The hot topic that has come up with my clients these last few weeks has been how to stay healthy during the holidays. The holiday season poses some common challenges that for diabetics can be detrimental to blood sugar control. It seems that with the all the parties, food temptations, and mindset of “I’ll start January 1st”, all intentions of exercising, eating healthy, and sticking to your normal routine tend to get swept away.

I am a strong believer in finding balance between enjoying yourself in life and taking care of your body. The good news is that I believe both can coincide without feeling like you’re dieting or depriving yourself! Whether you are traveling or staying home this year, here are some of my favorite tips for keeping up your healthy game during the holidays:

  1. Prioritize self care

When we focus on taking care of ourselves, we are more likely to make healthier decisions. One thing we want to do this holiday season is arm our bodies with sleep, water, and exercise to help reduce stress. When we are stressed, our body produces more of the hormone gherlin and less of the hormone leptin. Together these hormones result in us wanting to eat more and feeling less satisfied after we eat, which in turn can lead to late night binges and high blood sugars throughout the night.

Here are a few tips to reduce stress:

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Workout for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week combining strength and cardio. Note: Always consult your physician before taking on a new workout
  1. Eat your last big meal 3-4 hours before you go to sleep

For diabetics, the danger zone happens when blood sugar is high for an extended period of time. It’s imperative that we go to bed at a stable number and know that it won’t be fluctuating too much throughout the night. By eating your last meal 3-4 hours before you go to sleep, you’re able to monitor how your dinner effects your blood sugar even hours later and make a correction if needed.

  1. Practice intention setting the morning of a party

On the morning of a party, I like to intention set. With your intention set, you have an internal compass that will help guide you. Think about the difference and outcome of an intention such as: “I want tonight to be about slowing down, connecting with my family, and not using food to feed my emotions” versus, “ It’s only one night I might as well eat whatever I want.” You’re definitely more likely to get yourself in a little more food trouble with the second intention! What the mind believes, the body does.

  1. Shift the focus to family and friends

Isn’t connecting with your loved ones the whole point of the holidays? Instead of hovering over the kitchen and stuffing your face with food, feed your hunger for enjoyment with laughing, telling stories, and playing games with your family and friends!

  1. Give your desserts a healthy makeover

Because I’m a total dessert person, I love trying out new recipes that takes a traditional unhealthy snack and makes it healthy. So many desserts are really high in carbs AND fat, which is a terrible combo because it makes your body more resistant to the insulin, which results in high blood sugar and fat storage. There are endless healthy recipes online but today I want to share with you my all time favorite! It’s always a hit at my holiday parties and people can’t believe it’s healthy! Check it out below to see the secret ingredient!

black bean brownie nutrition facts

Image of black bean brownies from chcolatecoveredkatie.com

Nutrition label for black bean brownies created by Lauren Bongiorno at onlinelabels.com

Nutrition label for black bean brownies created by Lauren Bongiorno at onlinelabels.com

Recipe: Black Bean Brownies by Chocolate Covered Katie:

Yields: 9-12 brownies

What You Will Need:

  • 1.5 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup quick or rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut pal sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Farenheit
  2. Grease a 6×6 square baking dish
  3. In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and process until completely smooth
  4. Place mixture into a bowl and fold in chocolate chips
  5. Pour into the pan and spread evenly with a knife
  6. Place in oven for 20-30 minutes
  7. Option to add in more chocolate chips
  8. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator and then serve cold or warm with a glass of almond milk!

Join the conversation by clicking here or on “Leave A Reply” at the top of this post and let us know what has been your biggest struggle with staying healthy during the holidays. Which tips above do you think you will try this year? Let us know!

Lauren Bongiorno is a Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic holistic health coach, qualified yoga instructor, and motivational speaker. Lauren has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 2000 and has proven that no matter what your challenge in life is, taking control of it starts from the inside out with a healthy mind and body. With a background in holistic health, personal training, division 1 collegiate soccer, and yoga, Lauren is the Brand Ambassador for Gluco Perfect. You can connect with Lauren on her website at laurenbongiorno.com and follow her Instagram and Facebook pages for daily inspiration.