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Holiday Eating with Diabetes: Meals That Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

a family enjoying holiday eating with diabetes at the dinner table
It’s not impossible to enjoy holiday eating with diabetes. Easy food swaps can keep food high in taste and low in carbs.

Holiday meals, like those during Thanksgiving or Christmas, can be challenging to get through if you have diabetes. The carb-loaded side dishes alone can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Add a slice of pie or a festive drink, and it becomes very challenging to enjoy holiday eating with diabetes. But small changes can make your holiday meal diabetes-friendly and healthier for the whole family.

Diabetes-Friendly Meals Made Easy

The good news is that it only takes a few tweaks to make your menu healthier. This can serve everyone at the table, whether or not you have diabetes. You can still include some of your favorite standbys. Fill your plate with colorful, fiber-rich veggies and reduce starchy carbs for healthier versions of your holiday favorites.

Easy Tips for Holiday Eating with Diabetes

Use these easy swaps to make diabetes-friendly meals for yourself and loved ones.

Sugary Drinks

Make a pitcher of “cranberry soda” as an alternative to cider and other sweet drinks. Simply add 1 cup of 100% cranberry juice to 6 cups of seltzer. Add slices of fresh lemon and lime.

Fatty Hors d’oeuvres

Skip cheese and crackers. Put out a colorful platter of raw veggies. Serve with a dip of plain Greek yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Add fresh herbs like dill or parsley.

Carb-Heavy Side Dishes

Swap out fiber for carbs without losing taste:

  • Instead of mashed potatoes, whip up a bowl of mashed cauliflower, celery root bulb, low-fat milk, chicken broth and garlic.
  • Use butternut squash or pumpkin along with or as a replacement for sweet potatoes. These gourds offer all the taste of the season but with fewer carbs and calories.
  • Roast Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and onions in olive oil for a tasty seasonal side dish. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

Support for Managing Your Diabetes

Need help managing your diabetes outside of the holidays? We have local diabetes education support groups available.

High-Calorie Desserts

Try these alternatives:

  • Fill a bowl with mixed fresh berries. They’re not only low-calorie and loaded with fiber, but they look pretty on the table and can satisfy a sweet tooth.
  • Offer bite-size desserts to help control portions. This way, you can still take a bite or two of your favorite holiday dessert without going overboard. Mini muffin tins are a great way to bake your favorite recipe in smaller portion sizes.

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Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Tags: primary care

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