Hughes County, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

For those with diabetes plan ahead for holiday meals

By Robyn Jones, Hughes County FCS/4-H Extension Educator

The holiday season is upon us and with this means holiday festivities filled with rich foods and hearty meals. Those with diabetes can take part in these festivities by planning ahead.

Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, said having diabetes does not mean you have to give up your favorite seasonal foods.

“If people who have diabetes eat in moderation, they can enjoy the foods of the season,” Hermann said. “The key is to plan ahead and know your limits.”

Hermann offers these tips for holiday meals for diabetics:

·         Make a list of must have foods – a piece of cake or sugar cookie – and figure out how to include them in your eating plan.

·         Think of your typical holiday meal, ask the host what is going to be on the menu and plan ahead for what you are going to eat.

·         Use a smaller plate.

·         Say no to second helpings of food.

·         Make healthy drink choices. Opt for water, tea or club soda instead of the higher calorie choices.

·         Make exercise a priority, go out for a walk after the meal.

·         Monitor blood sugar more often than usual.

“Enjoy sugary treats in moderation, but remember sweets aren’t the only foods that increase blood sugar levels,” Hermann said. “Carbohydrates, including those in fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, dairy and  other starchy foods, can raise blood sugar. Be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods – think about appropriate portion sizes and try to make lower fat and sugar choices.”

If you are hosting a holiday meal, be sure to plan ahead for someone who may have diabetes. Hermann said to offer a variety of foods.

“Offer low-fat choices and try to use healthy recipes when preparing dishes,” she said. “Preparing a reduced calorie meal and offering healthier choices will give someone with diabetes at your festivities more opportunity to enjoy the foods around them. Plus healthy options will benefit everyone enjoying the meal.”

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

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