Healthy Holidays for Folks with Diabetes and Their Loved Ones

Nothing beats gathering with friends and family for Thanksgiving. While traditional dishes are delicious, they’re not always nutritious, so it can be hard for people with diabetes to eat as they should. When a member of my family was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, we all embraced healthier eating habits to enjoy adapted versions of holiday favorites together.

Diabetes doesn’t have to limit anyone’s holiday enjoyment. Family members can help by offering dishes with low fat, salt and sugar. Choose leaner meat like turkey or fish and enhance their flavor by baking, grilling or roasting instead of frying. Fill plates with 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent protein (meat or beans) and 25 percent carbohydrates like rice or potatoes.
Last Thanksgiving, I made a fruit cobbler with fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Using fresh fruit instead of canned meant that there was no super-sweet syrup. Berries have a low glycemic index, so they cause smaller elevations in blood sugar than more high-glycemic fruit. I used blue agave syrup as a sweetener because it contains fewer carbohydrates than refined sugar, then topped off the cobbler with low-fat whipped topping.

The Food Network’s vegetarian collard greens recipe is delicious. At first I was skeptical, but was pleasantly surprised by the taste that fresh garlic, onions, vegetable soup mix and crushed red pepper gave my greens. Another plus: the dish limits salt and fat.

I hope these tips will help you and yours enjoy the holidays. By embracing the needs of loved ones with diabetes, we can all benefit from healthy eating.

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