The holiday season is in full swing. Baking cookies for family and friends and holiday parties with cocktails and rich hors d’oeuvres can throw even the most faithful healthy eaters off track. And having diabetes can make it feel like an even greater challenge—one that might lead you to say no when it comes to holiday parties. But sticking to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean deprivation—not if you take the right approach.
The following tips will help you manage diabetes and enjoy the holiday season without deprivation or guilt.
Forget the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. Depriving yourself of special foods or feeling guilty when you enjoy them isn’t part of a healthy eating strategy. If you plan ahead, you can enjoy small portions of the traditional holiday foods you really want—even when you have diabetes.
Mind your carbs. Knowing your daily carbohydrate budget and how much of that budget you plan to spend at each meal is key. Before a holiday get-together, look up the carbohydrate content of your favorite holiday fare to help you more easily stay within your budget when you’re at the event.
Don’t leave the house hungry. Food activist Tiffany R. Davis, the creator of Feed Your Inner Chef, suggest you eat a healthy salad or green smoothie before you go out. “Try dark greens like spinach, kale, or even chard when making your salad or smoothie,” says Davis. These vegetables are low in carbs and chock full of nutritional value.
Scan the buffet: Before you make your food choices scan the entire buffet. Choose small portions of food you really, really want. Often just a taste will satisfy cravings. “Be mindful of your portions,” says Davis. “You don’t have to ‘taste’ everything just because it’s there.”
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