This year in the US, 23.6 million children and adults with diabetes will be doing their best to control their blood sugar throughout the holidays. With an additional 1.6 million+ new cases each year, chances are you know someone going through this struggle.
The key to staying fit for anyone during the holidays is making a variety of healthy food choices while limiting portion sizes. This is vital for those suffering from diabetes, and understandably difficult to stick to. The following tips from the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) can help you and your loved ones eat healthy throughout the winter season:
• Eat a healthy snack. Eating a healthy snack prior to leaving home can prevent overeating at holiday parties.
• Plan ahead. Check out the party food options before you begin eating, and make a mental note of what and how much you will eat. Your food choices should fit into your meal plan.
• Bring a dish. Share your healthy dish with family and friends.
• Move away from the buffet. Fix your plate, and then step away from a table of finger foods to avoid grazing while chatting.
• Savor the flavor. Eating slowly reduces your chances of overeating.
• Drink H2O. Water is a healthy, no-calorie beverage. Drink plenty of it.
• Trim it down. Eat smaller portions of food. Trim off extra skin and fat from meat.
• Party hard! Focus on family, friends, and activities rather than food. Stay active by participating in games or dancing.
Serving nutritious feasts to your guests is a great way to keep the whole crowd healthy:
• Bake it. Broil it. Grill it. Consider healthy alternatives to traditional meats. Choose skinless meat or poultry and avoid fried dishes.
• Increase fiber. Serve whole grain breads, peas, and beans as part of your meals.
• Easy on the toppings. Lighten your recipes by using reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise, butter, sour cream, or salad dressing.
• Focus on fruits. Serve fresh or canned fruits instead of ice cream, cake, or pie. Transform high fat, high-calorie desserts by replacing whole milk or whipped cream with 1 percent or nonfat milk.
• Serve low-calorie beverages. Offer your guests sparkling water or diet beverages.
Remember that we’re all in this together– support your family and friends by encouraging them to eat healthy during the winter months and throughout the year.
Intern Behind the Plate,
1.”The Holidays Are Coming! Time to Start Planning for Healthy Holiday Meals.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/fall09/articles/fall09pg20-21a.html. Published Fall 2009. Accessed on November 15th, 2010.
2. “Diabetes Statistics.” Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/ Accessed on November 15th, 2010.
3. Diabetes Resources Available at: http://www.ndep.nih.gov/index.aspx Accessed on November 15th, 2010.