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Holiday Table Time – Tips on Diabetes-Friendly Foods

holiday_dinnerWhen you’re living with diabetes, the holidays aren’t just about food and family; they’re also about healthy choices. For many individuals living with diabetes, the most challenging part of the holidays is navigating the trimmings and side dishes that line the table. Whether you’re a cook or a consumer, here are some easy tips on how to manage what’s on your plate.

Make a Plan

If you’re the cook, make a kitchen schedule. Get ahead of the rush (and stress) that affects the kitchen and the cook during busy family gatherings. Assign tasks, make a menu, and get others involved. If you’re a guest, make sure your host is aware of how to prepare diabetes-friendly recipes. Offer to bring your own diabetes-friendly side dish.

Mix Up the Macronutrients – Utilize Diabetes Super Foods

Research suggests that there is not an optimal percentage of calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat for all people with diabetes. That said, whole grains and high fiber dishes are good choices at the holiday table. What does this mean for your plate? Look for the following foods on the table. As with all meals, you need to work the diabetes super foods into your individualized meal plan in appropriate portions.

  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Citrus fruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free milk and yogurt

A Holiday Must: Non-Starchy Vegetables

Here are some vegetables already included in holiday favorites that are healthy and low in starch. If you’re cooking, consider substituting a twist on classic side dishes incorporating these veggies.

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Leeks
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

Mix It Up! 

Trying different food options may spice up your diet and add some excitement to holiday routines. Try a Mediterranean-style menu for a diabetes-friendly meal. Dive into a vegan feast, or focus on low-carb options for meal plans.1 Always consult your physician before attempting any changes to your diet.

Watch the Snacking

Try to approach snacking as you might a meal. Sit down and focus on the food. This way you won’t lose track of what’s coming in. Portion sizes are still relevant for managing blood sugar levels and for losing or maintaining weight.1

Take Care of the Total Package

Just because you’re watching your food and having a good time doesn’t mean you should neglect any other part of your diabetes: continue to monitor your ABCs of diabetes health, make that trip to the gym, and use the time off from work or school to recharge.

Living with diabetes shouldn’t take the joy out of the holiday season. If your family looks forward to your famous holiday cookies every year—go ahead and make (a diabetes-friendly) batch. Remember to always consult your physician before engaging in any large-scale changes to your diet. Visit www.healtogether.com for more tips on how to stay healthy.

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  1. Isabel van Sunder says:

    Very good advise.

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