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Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

Healthy Holiday Dishes for Diabetes

christmas table

Do you have your holiday menu planned? Does your guest list include those who are gluten-sensitive, vegetarian, paleo, vegan, or any number of specified diet restrictions? I have heard many conversations about how to accommodate so many preferences and restrictions.  In the spirit of holiday care, I would like to make another suggestion, an accommodation for a  large segment of our population who never get attention.

In east central Illinois, approximately 12% of the population has diabetes, with another 20% having the condition known as prediabetes. That is significant. These folks quietly navigate our holiday meal bonanza without a complaint.

Think about our classic holiday meal menu; turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, corn casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cookies, and candy…..the carbohydrate count for this type of meal can be as high as 550 grams! Many people who have diabetes try to limit their carbohydrates to 45 grams (or less) per meal.

How can you make your menu more inviting to people who must watch their carbohydrate intake?

  • Offer one or two dishes that you have ‘lightened’ by reducing the sugar by 1/3.
  • Make sure you have at least one vegetable dish without sauce, for example, steamed broccoli rather than green bean casserole.
  • Always offer a salad (not a mayonnaise, cool whip midwestern salad) with plenty of vegetables.
  • Add fruit to your dessert lineup, but dress it up—try a Pavlova.
  • Whole grains are a great addition to any recipe, replace half the white flour with whole wheat flour or quick oats.
  • Replace half of your potatoes with steamed cauliflower for mashed potatoes.
  • Veggies and hummus are an easy appetizer.

I am not insisting that you change your whole menu. I am suggesting that you try one or two of these healthy holiday tips. I think your family and friends will appreciate your efforts.