Got Diabetes? (Part 2)
Say Yes (Without Stress) to Temptations of the Feast (Part 2)
Unless you’re headed to a potluck and can bring your own food, it’s no doubt a challenge (albeit one you can face and manage for sure—check our Part 1 of Got Diabetes? Here) to hit a holiday dinner or party when you have diabetes and are unsure of what will be served. So when you’re the one who’s having people over for a feast, you’ll likely feel less overwhelmed by what you’ll eat to manage your blood sugar.
Unfortunately, not all of us are culinary masters. Perhaps cooking is not your forte, and the idea of feeding more than your family daunts you. That’s why I asked Robyn Webb, MS, an award-winning chef and the author of The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook for her top tips to help you add more nutrients to (and maintain the flavor of) your favorite seasonal dishes, and to eat well to maintain your health and weight this holiday season.
- Slash the starch: Cut down on the amount of starchy carbohydrates served and replace some starchy dishes with more colorful, non-starchy vegetables. But don’t forget to make them interesting. For instance, prepare shredded Brussels sprouts instead of the usual boring round shape. Sauté them with a small amount of flavor- rich prosciutto or pancetta.
- Go whole with your grains: Replace the white bread you usually use for stuffing with whole grain bread. Add more vegetables to the stuffing and sauté them in low fat broth. To save calories and fat, you can also skip the high fat sausage and other meat additions.
- Go for the grahams: Replace your typical pastry crust you use to make pumpkin pie with a lower fat Graham cracker one. Better yet, you can use the pumpkin pie filling as a pudding-like dessert and top it with just a few Graham cracker crumbs.
- Enjoy soup as a starter: Have a vegetable-based soup as a first course. This will slow down the pace of your eating (not to mention fill you up).
- Have some sugar and spice: Instead of always making pie, why not make a warm fruit dessert such as baked pears or baked apples. Use generous amounts of sweet spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger or nutmeg to mimic the intense sweetness normally supplied by copious amounts of sugar.
- Stay on guard. Don't let the holidays be an excuse to let your guard completely down. Take your blood sugar regularly and use those numbers to dictate how much food you should be eating.
- Get Mocked! To make your own delicious mocktail, dilute pomegranate juice with club soda, add a little lime juice, and serve it in a martini glass with a cocktail toothpick skewered with a chunk of pineapple and an orange slice.
- Stay on schedule. Remember to never go too long in between meals, and never starve yourself in anticipation of a holiday meal. That’ll put you at risk for overeating, and that will make it difficult for you to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
What are your biggest challenges when preparing and/or eating holiday meals? What helps you get through them?
Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and award-winning author of "Nutrition At Your Fingertips," "Feed Your Family Right!," and "So What Can I Eat?!." She is also a past national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. For more information, go to www.elisazied.com. Sign up for the free weekly ZIED GUIDE™ newsletter for nutrition tips and news you can use (go to right side of home page at elisazied.com). Follow Elisa on Twitter/elisazied and on Facebook.
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