For some people, the holidays may be a challenging time, especially if you live with diabetes. The season offers many temptations, and the pressure to indulge may feel overwhelming. But a little planning and a healthy dose of good cheer might help keep stress to a minimum and keep the focus on what’s really important this time of year.
Whether at a party or at work, shopping for gifts or preparing meals at home, temptations may pop up anywhere this season. At holiday parties, choose the smallest plate, and load it up with lower-starch vegetables first. And be aware of hidden calories in holiday mainstays like chocolate and eggnog. (Be sure to talk to your diabetes care team if considering making changes to your meal plan.)
If you’re counting carbs, that doesn’t mean necessarily mean that all festive cookies, cakes and confections are off-limits. Prepare smaller portion sizes for homemade desserts and adjust the amount of sugar in recipes with a combination of artificial and natural sweeteners. Techniques such as lining pans with parchment paper instead of buttering them can help make traditional holiday treats diabetes-friendlier.
Those who are following a gluten-free diet may face additional challenges when baking diabetes-friendlier versions of holiday desserts. Conventional baking techniques don’t always apply to gluten-free versions, and ingredients can be tricky to master at first. Be sure to test out gluten-free recipes beforehand to help avoid unexpected results!
The pressure of choosing the right gifts for everyone on your list may pose another potential source of holiday stress. Plan ahead and decide on a workable budget before shopping. Or spend time instead of money and create coupons for thoughtful services such as babysitting that friends or family members can redeem throughout the year.
When it’s time to toast, there are plenty of festive diabetes-friendlier options. Reach for a lighter version of holiday favorites, such as soy nog instead of traditional eggnog. For a little mocktail sparkle, try seltzer with a splash of seasonal cranberry juice, and float a berry or two in the glass for a festive garnish.