When you have diabetes, it can feel like you’re on the outside looking in during holiday meals. But, you can enjoy every delicious moment during your next holiday celebration, from the minute appetizers are served until dessert. By following a few simple tips, you can create healthier versions of your favorite dishes, make better choices at the dinner table and help keep your blood sugar balanced during the most wonderful—and most tempting—time of the year.
Use ingredients that inspire wellness
When you’re the chef, it can be easier to have a healthy and happy holiday. To help manage your diabetes and keep your loved one’s well-being at its best during the holidays, try these nutritious ingredient swaps.
- Trade in olive oil – Olive oil is a great alternative to vegetable oil or butter. It can be used to sauté, roast vegetables and make dressings. Plus, it contains plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fats
- Bake without butter – Greek yogurt, apple sauce and low-fat mayonnaise can all be used in place of butter or oil in baking recipes. Simply substitute one-for-one the amount of oil that the recipe calls for.
- Use natural sugars – Pureed dates or ripe bananas add sweetness to baked goods while being less likely to make blood sugar spike. They’re also filled with nutrients and bananas can help improve cardiovascular and digestive health.
- Swap out starches – Instead of rice and pasta, try making spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. A cup of cauliflower rice has 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates, compared to 150 calories and 35 grams of carbs in a similar amount of white rice.
Be mindful of what’s on your plate
Tis the season for temptation! While it can be easy to let yourself go and indulge during the holiday season, you’ll be thankful if you stick to your daily diabetes management routine and make healthier decisions when it comes time to sit down and eat.
- Consider how it’s cooked – While potato fritters and deep-fried turkeys taste great, they’re cooked in unhealthy oils that can harm your well-being. Instead, scan the table for foods that are baked, steamed, grilled or broiled.
- Cut carbs where you can – You can enjoy the occasional sweet treat if you cut back on carbs during your meal. To get started, swap your drink for water, which has no carbs, leaving room for a sweet treat at dessert.
- Pick the right protein – If you’re facing the question, “salmon or beef?” you should always choose salmon. Even better, look for plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils and nuts, which are filled with heart-healthy unsaturated fats and fiber.
- Have your pie and eat it – Always choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie. While both are delicious holiday desserts, even with a dollop of whipped cream, you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third by going with pumpkin over pecan.
Check your blood sugar often
By following a few simple hacks, you can help keep your blood sugar in control and enjoy your meals just as much as anyone this holiday season. But, if you accidentally indulge more than you meant to, it’s important to check your blood sugar regularly to help ensure it stays at a healthy level.
With Pip products, it’s easier than ever to check your blood sugar, whether you’re staying home or visiting loved ones this year. Pip Lancets are compact and have a safe design that makes them easy to take on-the-go. Even better, they make each fingerstick a pain-free experience.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical School: “Dietitian grades best and worst of cooking oils”
Harvard School of Public Health: “Bananas”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Vegetable of the month: Cauliflower”
Mayo Clinic: “Why eating too many fried foods could lead to early death”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Eating Out”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Protein sources that are best for your heart”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “5 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays”