It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays, and while that might make you feel uncomfortably full, it can be dangerous for diabetics. That said, diabetics can easily enjoy the same foods as everyone else; they simply need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake. Make your dishes hearty with produce, protein and fibre, to offset the carb-load of holiday dinners. Dishes featuring low starch vegetables like cauliflower, eggplant and zucchini, can easily take the place of traditional mashed potatoes, baked pasta dishes, or cheesy stuffed or breaded appetizers.
Diabetic-Friendly Holiday Hacks:
- Limit the carbs and focus on non-starchy vegetables, healthy proteins and fibre. Avoid serving high fat or salty foods.
- Let guests serve themselves so their portions are self-regulated. This includes sauces, gravy and dressings.
- If you serve mashed potatoes, lighten them with cauliflower, celeriac or parsnip puree instead of relying on milk, butter, and cream. A healthy option sweet potato mash is another alternative to consider as well.
- Reduce sugar in sauces by using fruit like sugar-free applesauce as a natural sweetener.
- Use produce, spices and herbs to flavour food instead of sugar and salt. Caramelized onions, roasted garlic and fresh herbs are flavourful additions to consider.
- If you serve bread or pasta, be sure to offer whole grain breads and whole wheat or gluten-free pasta. Try using other types of flours—like nut, bean, or whole grain flours, to increase nutrition and reduce carbs in your desserts.
You can be decadent and entertain so everyone can enjoy a good party. Diabetics can easily enjoy the same foods as everyone else; they simply need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake. There are also plenty of ways for desserts to be naturally sweet and decadent. Swap in fruit purees to reduce the amount of sugar you add, and also add fibre! Be creative and you can make something that’s healthier for everyone, not just for your diabetic guests! Like these, Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons!
- Serve crowd-pleasing healthy appetizers.
- Provide plenty of veggie dishes, preferably not too starchy and not too heavy with butter and cheese. Opt for veggies like leafy greens, tomatoes, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers.
- Avoid swapping sugars for sugar substitutes. Instead use whole fruits to naturally sweeten desserts and make them a little healthier at the same time! For instance, use freshly squeezed orange juice (and include a little zest!) instead of water and sugar for your cranberry sauce. Letting fruit take center stage for dessert is both colourful and tasty.
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