Sweet times are here, Holidaytime as a Diabetic
As we all know the hard times are coming if you’re loving the sweet life. The candy that we got for Saint Martin (Same kind of thing as Halloween.) and now Sinterklaas is in the country and he is bringing sweets and chocolate. Next things in line are Christmas and New Year. Huge eating, drinking and social snacking events. I can only call it hell on earth if you need to loose weight, count calories and eat a lot of low carbs, veggies and fibres.
For diabetics, the holiday season is filled with temptations. Candy is everywhere. Your well-meaning co-workers bring in plates of cookies, chocolates and other thickmaking happy food made of sugar that taunt you from the break room. You've got invitations to partys where it seems like the foods were chosen by people that either try to test your will or hope that you will have regrets.
But before you decide to give everyone a piece of coal or a chunk of carrot and hibernate through the holidays, you should know that being diabetic doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite seasonal foods. But of course you can do something different with your old habits by simply changing some ingredients.
What About Other Holiday Food?
· Substitute low-fat or fat-free versions of mayonnaise, yogurt and sour cream to make dips.
· Serve plenty of raw vegetables to accompany your dips.
· Make for example a fresh salsa and serve with home-baked tortilla chips.
· Use fat-free cream cheese and lean cuts of turkey or ham in pinwheels and roll-ups.
· In soups, use fat-free and low sodium broths as your base. Use pureed root vegetables or beans to thicken them instead of cream.
· Serve lean cuts of meat, such as pork or beef tenderloin. If a ham is your centerpiece, be sure to trim the fat. And if turkey is making a comeback at your table, remove the skin and choose white meat over dark if you can.
· Provide plenty of vegetables. Steam, braise or roast them. Glaze with a very small amount of butter if you like, or use broth and herbs for flavor instead. If you are serving mashed potatoes, substitute reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream or half and half for the full-fat versions.
· If you are serving a holiday pie, consider using phyllo dough as a base or topping. Phyllo dough is light and flaky, and virtually fat free. Enjoy fruit cobblers or crisps with less butter and use oats for added fiber. Top with fat-free whip or low fat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream or heavy cream.
· Use reduced-fat and fat-free cream cheeses for cheesecakes
· Serve poached or baked seasonal fruits such as apples or pears, again topping with low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt or whip.
These are just a few ideas about how to reduce fat in your Christmas feast.
Joining in the Fun
Although sweets are often considered a diabetic's worst enemy, managing diabetes is more complicated than simply avoiding sugar. For instanace, other carbohydrates -- like a serving of mashed potatoes -- can cause a surge in blood sugar just like a candy bar. It's the total number of carbohydrates that counts and not the form you're eating them in. Fat, which abounds in holiday cooking, should also be kept to a minimum.
So what should you be eating during the holidays? "As at any time of the year, you should be eating a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fat," And of course that you should be getting a good amount of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Easier said than done, I can imagine that it is hard to change your ways.
This can be pretty tricky during the holidays. But there is no need to eliminate foods, since a good meal plan balances different types of foods and outlaws none.
While the holidays are a time when you have less control over what food is put in front of you, you've still got control over what you actually choose to eat. Don't allow the usual high-fat and high-sugar holiday party fare to take you by surprise. If you're going to a party or a holiday meal, go prepared.
· Know your own limits. "Every diabetic is different," and that is the tricky part, "and you need to figure out the balance of different foods that will work for you." Although counting grams every day may be difficult, you should have a general sense of what combinations of carbohydrates, fats, and fiber will work.
· Try to anticipate the kind of food that you'll encounter at a party. For instance, if you know that your mom is making a favorite pie for dessert, plan your meals and medication during the day accordingly so that you can have a slice. You don't have to deny yourself if you think ahead.
· If you're really concerned that there won't be food at a party that you can eat, consider eating a snack beforehand.
· Another good alternative is to bring a dish with you that you know you can eat. Given that there are many diabetics in our society, there are a number of recipes and cookbooks for people with diabetes. In general, consider reducing sugar or using a sugar replacement in sweets and use pureed fruit as a substitute for fat in baked goods. Your host will surely appreciate the gesture, and you'll be able to relax knowing that you won't go hungry.
Sensible Enjoying the Holidays
Once you're at a holiday meal or party, overeating is pretty easy to do, especially since the rest of the guests are often overindulging. However, you are the one in charge and you shouldn't let yourself lose control.
Beware of what you can call "unconscious eating," the tendency we all have to absent-mindedly take a cookie or a piece of candy from a dish as we pass by. A little here and there can add up quickly. (in my case nearly 130 kilograms.
Say "no" to seconds, and pay attention to the details. "Remember, you can control how much gravy someone's putting on your plate, or whether you're getting turkey skin or not."
Avoid or limit alcohol. In addition to raising your blood sugar, yhe most difficult part for me, as alcohol can interact with diabetes medications.
Test yourself. "If ever there is a time to be religious about taking your blood sugars, it's during the holidays." Because you may be eating more and eating foods that you don't normally have, it's especially important to keep track of your levels.
For a lot of people during the holidays, lounging in front of a gameshow or a good movie on TV is about as close as they get to physical fitness. That's not good for anyone, and it's especially bad for diabetics. I suggest making exercise social during the holidays. "Grab your favorite familymember or a friend and go out for a walk," it is relaxing and "It's a great way to catch up." Or what about a game of bowling or games at home on the games machine that you might have.
Mistakes happen, and you may wind up eating in a way that you shouldn't. But don't let one instance of overeating cause you to give up and indulge in a lost weekend of excess. If you've fallen off the wagon, you've just got to pick yourself up quickly and get back to your plan.
Sticking to the Plan
Staying in control may be difficult and exhausting during the holidays, especially when no one else is. Holidays are trying times for many, and the extra hassle of having to always be so careful about what you eat may get you down, or make you feel cut off from others. However, using some of the tips above will help you enjoy the holidays along with everyone else.
In addition, it's worth remembering that the consequences of going off your meal plan are often not only long-term, but immediate. "When diabetics are off their program, whether their blood sugar is up or down, they know it. They feel sick."
So even though planning ahead may sometimes be a chore, having a healthy holiday is the best way to assure a festive one.
I hope this might be some good ideas for the days to come.
The Old Sailor,