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Holiday Eating with Diabetes

By Submitted, 11/28/18 8:09 PM

The holidays can be stressful enough, but coping with a disease, such as type 2 diabetes, can make the season even more difficult. It is important to have the knowledge to tackle one of the biggest joys and issues during the holiday season – food.

Type II diabetes is a condition where your body produces too much insulin, which causes insulin resistance or not producing enough insulin. The hormone insulin helps regulate the amount of glucose or “sugar” that goes into your body’s cells.

Prediabetes is a condition where you have higher than normal blood sugar levels but have not yet been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Diet, exercise, and overall healthy living factors are important to help reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

In order to have a happy and healthy holiday season, it is important to make the best decisions for your health. Tips to help you make the best decision regarding diabetes and healthy habits during the holiday season include:

• Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats when dining out. Look at the menu before you go to the restaurant. Choose foods that begin with grilled, sautéed, baked, boiled, steamed, and roasted. These foods tend to have less amounts of oil, grease, or butter. Choose another option than foods beginning with “fried,” “smothered,” “battered,” or “covered.”

• Also when dining out, ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side. Then you can control the amount. Don’t hesitate to ask about healthier options or methods of cooking even if not listed on the menu. Be sure to read the nutrition facts which are often posted online or in the restaurant.

• Offer to bring a homemade salad, vegetables, or a side of fresh fruit for potlucks, family dinners, or office parties. With all the comfort food that will be at the gathering, focus on bringing a winter-fresh salad, or try a vegetable dish, made with olive oil.

• To aid in portion control, choose a small portion of the starchy foods. Fill up on raw vegetables, low-fat cheese, or low-fat deli meat before you eat your meal. Drinking water before the meal and during also helps. Plus you have the added benefit of staying hydrated.

• Be aware of the time that your meal will be served. Notice how this can impact your insulin shots and monitoring of your glucose. A small carbohydrate snack may be needed to help your glucose levels before you eat your main meal.

• Start your meal off with non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are great sources to include in your meal, because they help control blood glucose levels, are high in fiber, and are packed with vitamins and minerals.

• Try these alternative recipes to your favorite dishes, while still feeling good about what you are eating! Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Gingered Green Beans, Mashed Winter Squash are healthier options to some of the traditional high starch sides served at holidays.

• Don’t forget to exercise. Choose a light activity that will get your heart rate up and help control your blood glucose levels. Activities like walking, jogging, bike riding, and lifting weights are great exercises to enjoy before and after a holiday meal and are great ways to help manage your weight.

Being aware of what’s on your plate and lifestyle will help you enjoy your holiday meals with the ones you care about most. We wish you a wonderful healthy and happy holiday season.