Eating healthy around the holidays: For people with diabetes

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The holiday season is generally a time for celebrating and enjoying the company of friends and family. Unfortunately, it is also a time when people eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods than they normally would. If you have diabetes, it is sometimes difficult to  maintain your blood glucose within the target range set by your doctor.  Some careful thought and planning can go a long way to help you manage your blood glucose and still have a good time around the holidays.

Eating during the holidays should be no different from the way you eat every day if you eat a moderate amount of foods that are high in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Before the holidays begin, create daily, healthy eating habits.
Establishing daily habits early will help you make wise eating choices during the holidays. Follow these tips to start a healthy routine:

Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Include whole grains, fruit, low-fat dairy and protein.

Choose vegetables and fruits that have a variety of colors.

Eat whole grains.

Choose a variety of proteins like seafood, chicken, turkey and beans.

Watch your portion sizes.

Parties are popular during the holidays and can cause unhealthy eating. Try not to arrive at the party hungry. Don’t skip meals during the day to “save” calories and carbs. Don’t rush to eat at the event; spend some time socializing first. When you do eat, use small plates, and fill them with healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, when socializing, do not stand near a table with food; this will help you avoid unnecessary nibbling.

Remember, there are lots of sweets and desserts during the holidays, and these foods often contain carbs and fat with few other nutrients. Try substituting fruit as dessert. Fruit is sweet and has fewer calories than most desserts. If using fruit as a dessert keep within one serving size for the particular fruit. When cooking, use vanilla or cinnamon to act as a sweetener. This flavoring will add sweetness without a lot of carbs. Also you can split a dessert with a friend or try bringing your own diabetes-friendly dish to the party.

For more information on eating healthy during the holidays, visit the American Diabetes Association website, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/holiday-mea... or the Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service.

Source: Ingrid Adams, UK physical activity and weight management specialist

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.