From Thanksgiving to Christmas, the holidays are a time for love, joy and gift giving. Of course, with the holidays comes the food! From the turkey, stuffing, and Christmas ham to delicious fruit cake, the holidays can truly test your willpower. Especially for the over 30 million diabetics in America.
The dangers of the holidays for a diabetic
Navigating the scrumptious meals are a challenge for most diabetics. Many diabetic adults reach their highest blood sugar levels occurred after the holidays. For diabetics, diet management is key to controlling blood sugars. Here are four foods to limit or avoid to come out of the holidays unscathed:
Casseroles are often filled with green vegetables. Many believe the option to be healthier. Yet, when combined with the ingredients responsible for making casseroles so good, diabetics should reconsider extra helpings. Butter, salt, cream, and cheese make casseroles a high sodium, high-calorie option. Limit serving size to one cup at most to avoid hidden dangers.
Potatoes are high in carbs and have twice the glucose as regular table sugar. Including the butter, salt, and gravy, mashed potatoes can be over 260 calories per cup. The best bet is to avoid the mashed potatoes altogether. Reach for an extra helping of veggies with a low-fat dressing or dip.
Pumpkin or pecan pie
The holidays aren’t the same without pie. Who wouldn’t want a piece of pumpkin pie with a bit of vanilla ice cream for dessert? With the crust, butter, and sugar needed, pies are a danger to blood sugar. Limit the serving by splitting a slice at the table with a family member. Pumpkin pie is a healthier choice than pecan pie which can have triple the amount of calories.
Classing alcohol as food may be cheating, but the effects during the holidays are deep. Alcohol’s high sugar and calorie content affect diabetics easier than most foods. If consumed in excess, alcohol causes sugar levels to rise or and then fall to dangerous levels. Alcohol also impairs judgment which can lead to poor food choices or overeating. Limit intake or dilute with water or seltzer.
Make food healthy and fun this holiday
The holiday feasts can still be enjoyable, despite the diet challenges of diabetics. Test glucose levels often during family meal gatherings. Having discipline at family dinners will lead to happier and healthier holidays for everyone.