3 Holiday Eating Strategies for Diabetics

Friday, December 15, 2006 - 10:51am

By Cindy Guirino, RD/LD, CDE, CNSD, ACE PT

The holidays have officially begun. In the weeks ahead, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and finally the Super Bowl in January will offer us numerous opportunities to gorge on special holiday foods. Not surprisingly, most Americans will gain weight.

According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, between mid-November and early January, average-weight adults typically gain 1 pound, while overweight adults gain 5 pounds. During the rest of the year, most people will maintain this new weight, slowly gaining weight every subsequent year.

Food-oriented gatherings make maintaining a disciplined eating plan difficult. With all the sugary and carbohydrate-laden foods, diabetics often find this time of year particularly challenging. The best way to dodge the eating pitfalls of the holidays and avoid gaining weight is to adapt a good eating strategy.

How can a diabetic enjoy special holiday foods without gaining weight? Use these tips to eat, drink, and be merry. You will be glad you did. By keeping your blood sugars level, you will keep your energy levels up for all the holiday festivities!

Holiday survival guide for diabetics

1.   Select and savor festive foods

This is the time of year for special foods. To ensure you enjoy this time, selectively eat foods that you do not usually eat during the rest of the year, like your grandmother's secret recipe for stollen. If you savor the experience and make every bite count, you will be less likely to mindlessly eat something without noticing. It is easier to control your eating habits when you truly experience the food.

2.   Plan ahead - overeating is spontaneous, not planned

Before going to a party, visualize yourself eating a single serving of each special food, and not going back for seconds. Remind yourself that you do not have to taste everything that is being served. Pick the most incredible foods and savor every bite! Overeating is not planned behavior, it is spontaneous. By removing spontaneity, you will be able to enjoy the holidays without binging.

3.   Revamp holiday recipes for you

Celebrate the holidays by making delicious and nutritious recipes that fit into your diabetic meal plan. The recipe below is so tasty, colorful, and healthy that it will become one of your holiday favorites.

Broccoli Garden Salad
4 servings

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup nonfat light vanilla yogurt
½ cup roasted chopped peanuts
1 cup chopped apples
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup sliced cauliflower
½ cup sliced green onions

Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

1 cup is equal to 1 carbohydrate exchange.

Recipe from Food and Health Communications Recipe Database

For more information on managing your diabetes at parties see the following article from TheDietChannel: Holiday Parties: How to Control Eating?