Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Posted: December 5, 2016

This festive time of year can be a challenge to even the most disciplined person, but they can be extra challenging for those with diabetes.

The holidays can mean many things; but for most of us they are a time for enjoying our favorite foods made from traditional family recipes and attending parties hosted by family and friends.

Although we may love those cherished family recipes, they can be filled with unhealthy ingredients. How can we still enjoy the foods we love but prepare them in a healthier way? Here are a few quick tips: Does the recipe contain ingredients that are high in sugar, fat or salt and can those ingredients be modified? In most recipes, for example, sugar can be reduced by 25% without affecting the quality of the product. There are also many sugar substitutes on the market and several are good for baking. If you want to know about a specific product check the manufacturer’s website for details. Remember these tips will reduce, not eliminate the carbohydrate count of most recipes. There are several ways to reduce fat in a recipe such as substituting two egg whites for a whole egg. If a recipe calls for sour cream consider using a low fat version or substitute plain non-fat yogurt which will also increase the calcium content. Use skim milk to replace whole milk and evaporated skim milk in place of cream. Fresh herbs are a great addition to many recipes and will allow for a reduction or elimination of salt. Trying one or two of these tricks will make your holiday recipes a bit healthier and maybe tastier too.

Let’s be honest, most of us indulge during the holiday season. Attending holiday parties can create a huge temptation to try everything, and this can be challenging to blood sugar management. When attending a holiday party, try some of these suggestions to help you enjoy the festivities and keep blood sugar levels in line. Try eating your evening snack before you go, especially if you don’t know when you will be eating. When surveying the buffet table look for low fat cheese, vegetables with hummus, cold shrimp, low fat meats, or vegetables with a small amount of dip. If you are concerned that there might not be a healthy option, offer to make a dish. That way, you will have one item that is a healthy choice, and chances are the hostess will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Once at the party, think about where you want to stand or sit to socialize. Locating yourself away from the food helps to reduce the temptation to try one more thing. What you drink can be almost as important as what you eat. Alcoholic beverages are often a big part of social gatherings, but remember that alcohol, if consumed on an empty stomach, can cause blood sugar levels to drop. If you are going to consume alcohol be sure to do so with food. Remember that the holidays are about more than just the food. Take the time to enjoy the decorations and the company of others at the gathering.

As the holidays approach remember to be realistic about your goals. Celebrating with friends and family is an important part of the season for many of us. With a little bit of planning you can enjoy this special time of year and stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.