Diabetes and delightful cuisine can coexist harmoniously. Yet, maintaining control over your blood sugar levels during the festive season can be quite a challenge. Saying “no” to all those tempting treats on the table is easier said than done! We understand. That’s why we’re providing you with 7 practical tips to fully enjoy the holidays without losing sight of your type 2 diabetes. Additionally, at the end of this blog, you’ll find inspiration for diabetes-friendly appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Happy holidays!
Tip 1: Moderate Carbohydrate Intake
The more carbohydrates you consume, the higher your blood sugar levels rise. It’s neither necessary nor practically feasible to avoid carbohydrates altogether, but keeping your portions small can be more manageable. This is easier when there are sufficient alternatives with low or no carbohydrates. Strive for balance. If you’ve already consumed an ample amount of carbohydrates with your appetizer and main course, consider skipping the sweet dessert and opting for a cheese platter. Replace crackers during the gathering with cucumber “crackers” and serve various vegetables as a side dish to make it easier to control your carbohydrate intake.
Tip 2: Don’t Skip Meals
If you haven’t eaten for an extended period, chances are you’ll be hungry by the time you sit down to eat. During the Christmas drinks or dinner, it becomes more challenging to regulate your portions. Therefore, stick to your regular routine and avoid skipping meals. Feel free to enjoy a nutritious snack between lunch and dinner, even if you’re planning to have a substantial evening meal. For example, have a bowl of (plant-based) yogurt or quark with some nuts. A protein-rich snack is nourishing and helps you feel fuller for longer, reducing the risk of overeating during the drinks or dinner.
Tip 3: Spotlight on Vegetables
Vegetables have relatively few carbohydrates and are rich in fiber and nutrients. You can consume a substantial amount without causing a significant spike in your blood sugar levels. Therefore, give vegetables a starring role in your Christmas dinner. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables, choosing various colors for both a festive appearance and diverse nutrients. Instead of drowning vegetables in sugary sauces, steam or grill them with some olive oil and herbs. Delicious, right?
Tip 4: Eat at a Moderate Pace
Eating slowly can help prevent overeating. It gives your body more time to send signals to your brain that you’re becoming full, reducing the likelihood of going for seconds. Eating slowly also allows you to savor flavors and textures, and engage in conversations with friends and family, creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. After all, Christmas is ultimately a celebration of togetherness!
Tip 5: Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is often a part of festive gatherings, including Christmas. You don’t necessarily have to say “no,” but use it wisely as it can impact your blood sugar levels. Some alcoholic drinks can temporarily raise your levels, but later a drop may occur. While this may sound interesting, there’s a risk of your levels becoming too low (hypoglycemia), which is undesirable. Therefore, drink in moderation and choose beverages with less sugar (opt for light soda in a cocktail) and fewer carbohydrates (dry wine contains fewer carbohydrates than beer). Always combine your alcohol intake with food and remember to drink enough water in between. Or go for alcohol-free options! However, be mindful of the carbohydrate and sugar content in these drinks as they contribute to your overall intake, and the higher it is, the more your blood sugar levels will rise.
Tip 6: Move!
We can’t emphasize it enough: take a walk after your meal! Enjoy some fresh air with the whole family. Fresh air promotes relaxation, breaks up the day, and is also beneficial for your blood sugar levels. It stimulates your muscles to absorb glucose, lowering your blood sugar levels. A win-win – it’s both enjoyable and good for your health!
Tip 7: Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels so you can respond to fluctuations. Is your level high? Take a walk to bring it down a bit before eating again. Alternatively, opt for something with low or no carbohydrates, such as snack vegetables, nuts, olives, a stuffed egg, or a cheese cube. Conversely, if you notice your blood sugar levels dropping too much after consuming alcohol, choose something with carbohydrates. Measurement is knowledge!
Christmas Menu Inspiration
- Appetizer: How about Chinese tomato soup, egg wrap bites, stuffed avocado with shrimp, salmon tartare, carpaccio, or stuffed portobello with cream cheese? Yummy!
- Main Course: Opt for a main course with plenty of (different) vegetables. Examples include cauliflower risotto with mushrooms, steak with carrot puree, stuffed peppers, or turkey fillet stuffed with asparagus. You can also serve potato croquettes or baked or au gratin potatoes, but consider skipping them or having a small portion.
- Dessert: Enjoy a tasty cheese platter (yes, it’s allowed!), berry gratin, quark with pear crumble, or a cake made from almond flour with warm red fruit.
Clear.bio wishes you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2024!