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10 tips for tackling diabetes through the holidays

Press Argus Staff
Here are 10 tips for tackling diabetes during the holidays.

This year's celebrations might look a little different than previous years, but chances are food will still play a major role. Tasty treats are one of the main things that people look forward to this time of year. But if you or a family member has diabetes, the holidays can be tough. The good news is by having a plan with specific strategies, you can maintain your blood sugar levels and still enjoy the festivities along with everyone else.

Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Eat consistently: don’t skip meals. If you arrive to a gathering hungry, you’ll be more likely to overindulge.

2. Check out ALL the food options before you make your plate. Decide what your favorite carbohydrate choices are, which ones can be ignored, and then stick to that decision.

3. Limit the number of starchy foods (like rice, potatoes, bread, sweet potatoes, and corn). Try to choose just one to fill ¼ of your plate.

4. Choose vegetables first. Fill half of your plate with colorful, non-starchy vegetables like greens, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, and asparagus. This will keep your calories lower and keep you feeling fuller much longer.

5. Fill ¼ of your plate with a lean protein. Turkey is a great main course for holiday meals because it is low in fat and high in protein. Just be sure to remove the skin to reduce the total number of calories you consume.

6. Enjoy a small serving of sweets. It wouldn’t be Christmas without treats like cookies, cake, or pies. With some slight recipe modifications and/or the right portion sizes, you can still end your feast on a sweet note.

7. Don’t drink your calories. Choose water, unsweetened coffee or tea, or other sugar-free beverages. If you drink alcoholic beverages, be sure to eat something along with it and never drink on an empty stomach.

8. Check blood sugar levels regularly. A few extra checks the day of a holiday meal may help guide your choices.

9. Get a move on it. Take a walk before or after the big meal. Exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar levels.

10. Focus on family and friends. Make it the main reason you enjoy holidays and take the emphasis off the food.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season. If you fill up on vegetables and protein first, then you can still indulge in smaller portions of some of your higher-carb favorites. If you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. Just make a plan to get back on track. Remember, one meal or gathering doesn’t matter near as much as what you do most days of the week.

Need a little cooking inspiration? Give this diabetic-friendly holiday recipe a try!

Jolly Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups rice

3 ½ cups water

1 onion (medium, chopped)

1 10.75oz-can reduced sodium condensed cream of soup (mushroom, chicken, celery, or cheese)

1 ½ cups 1% milk

7 ½ cups frozen broccoli, chopped

½ pound cheese, grated

3 tablespoons margarine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease on 12x9x2 inch baking pan. In a saucepan mix rice, salt, and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove saucepan

from heat and set aside for additional 15 minutes. Sauté onions in margarine (or butter) until tender. Mix soup, milk, 1/2 cup of water, onions, and rice. Spoon mixture into baking pan.

Thaw and drain the vegetables and then spread over the rice mixture. Spread the cheese evenly over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and rice is bubbly. Yield: 12 servings.