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Holiday Meal Planning for Diabetics

Holiday festivities can be stressful for families, especially those with diabetes. There’s no need to fret – with a little preparation, you’ll be ready to face the holidays head-on.

The most important thing about managing diabetes during any holiday is to plan ahead. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends you ask yourself: What’s my family schedule for the holidays? Are we going out of town? Will we attend parties or food-oriented events? Once you know what your day will consist of, you can then examine the menus.

You can fine tune items on the menu by lowering the fat, sugar and carbohydrate counts, without sacrificing the taste. For example, if a recipe calls for whole milk, use two percent or skim milk instead. Steam your vegetables instead of adding butter and use fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt instead of regular sour cream.

You can still enjoy mom’s pumpkin pie and other treats, but first talk to your dietician or physician about ways to incorporate them into your meal plan. You may have to eat less of other foods, exercise more, increase insulin doses or all three depending on their advice.

The ADA offers these additional tips for managing your diabetes during the holidays:

  • Decide ahead of time what and how much you will eat and how you will handle social pressure.
  • Share one dessert with a friend, limiting serving size or scraping off the high-fat whipped-cream topping.
  • Volunteer to bring a favorite low-sugar dessert, such as plain cookies, baked apples, or sugar-free puddings, to social functions.
  • This is not the time to take a holiday from your daily exercise routine. Continue your workouts in addition to extra activities, such as parking far from and walking to the mall, or power walking while shopping.

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