If you have diabetes, you may worry about what you will eat for holiday meals. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy holiday celebrations as much as before your diagnosis - and perhaps even more so given that you won’t leave the celebration feeling overstuffed. The key is to eat and drink in moderation and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
These tips can help you enjoy a healthy holiday meal, while staying on track with diabetes management:
- Offer to bring a dish. If you are concerned that your host may not have foods that are suitable for your diet, offer to bring one of your favorite healthy dishes. Others at the party may also welcome having a heart-healthy option. In general, you will want to choose from recipes that are nutritionally balanced, high in fiber, low in fat (especially saturated fat) and moderate-to-low in salt. Load up with vegetables; choose lean meats, chicken and fish-and prepare them by baking or broiling; choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products; avoid high-sodium processed foods and limit how much salt you add to food; and enjoy some fresh fruit every day. As for how much you should eat of starchy foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, follow the advice of your doctor and dietitian. Finally, watch the calories.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit it to one drink for women and two drinks for men per day. (One drink is a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled alcohol.) Keep in mind that alcohol has a lot of calories. In addition, it tends to raise blood levels of triglycerides.
- Never go to a party hungry. Small frequent meals can help keep your blood glucose level stable throughout the day and can also help you avoid overeating at the party.
- Focus on conversations. One trick for reducing how much you eat at holiday parties is to really use them as an opportunity to socialize. Catch up with friends, family, or coworkers, instead of making the celebration primarily about food.