Healthy holiday feasting for people with diabetes

With a few simple steps people with diabetes can enjoy the holidays.

Michigan State University Extension encourages you to try some of these diabetes-friendly suggestions to make your next holiday meal healthy and delicious.

  • Start by pre-planning. What holiday meals will you be attending and what meals will you be preparing? By knowing how many times you might be tempted to eat larger portions or foods high in fats and sugar, you can balance out the higher calorie/fat/sugar meals with healthier meals low in fats and sugars.
  • If you’re invited, call the hostess and offer to bring a dish. By furnishing one or more foods you will at least have control over some of what you will be eating. Other people attending without diabetes may also be pleased to see a colorful salad of assorted vegetables or a plate of deliciously arranged fresh fruit.
  • When you prepare the meal, start with your family’s traditional menu. Now check for ways to prepare these traditional recipes with less sugar or fat. Websites like the American Diabetes Association offer many ideas for healthy recipes that will fit into your meal plan.
  • Plan to serve a salad filled with a variety of colorful, low carb veggies. Salads fill you up with little fat. Just watch your salad dressing and choose one low in fat or fat-free.
  • Serve several low carb vegetable side dishes. If your family has always had that traditional green bean casserole, consider preparing some fresh green beans with onions sautéed in a small amount of olive or canola oil. Sliced almonds can be added for that extra crunch.
  • Higher carb side dishes that can be the down-fall for people with diabetes, such as mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, can also be prepared with little or no added butter or sugar. Kick up the flavor by adding herbs such as chives to your mashed potatoes or cinnamon or nutmeg to sweet potatoes. There’s nothing wrong with making this year’s potato baked whether it’s an Idaho or a sweet potato.
  • Stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish which will help lower the amount of fat rather than stuffing it in the turkey.
  • For dessert, try a platter of assorted cut-up fruit. But if it just wouldn’t be the day without dessert, there are recipes for lower fat versions of pumpkin pie and other holiday goodies. Try checking the back of packaged artificial sweeteners for recipe ideas or go to their websites for more information.

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a disaster or one more excuse to not eat healthy. These ideas may help you have a healthy, delicious holiday feast and still maintain control of your diabetes!

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