By Barbara Quinn, MS, RD, CDE
Tips To Handle Holiday Meals
Cranberry sauce. Mashed potatoes and dressing with gravy. Pumpkin pie and Christmas fudge. Welcome to the carbohydrate and fat-packed holiday season. Before you are tempted to drop your diet plan like a hot roll with butter, consider these ideas to glide through the holidays with your diabetes under control:
Adjust recipes. Instead of butter, try whipping the potatoes with fat-free half and half. Make your favorite holiday desserts with one of the new “sugar-plus-sugar-substitute“products. Made for baking, these products contain half the carbs and calories of regular sugar.
Count carbohydrates. Carbohydrate counting can help you control your diabetes whether you take insulin, oral medications, or manage your diabetes with diet and exercise. Here’s how it works: Count each 15 grams of carbs in your meal as one “carb choice.” Each of these food portions contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates (1 carb choice): 1-ounce dinner roll or slice of bread; ½ cup dressing or mashed potatoes, 1/3 cup cranberry sauce, 1/12 of a pumpkin pie.
Know your carb limits. A reasonable goal for most people with diabetes is no more than 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate (3 to 4 “carb choices”) per meal. Then you can determine if you have room for pumpkin pie.
Pace yourself. The key to good control is to limit the total number of carbohydrates you eat at one time. Wait an hour or two after a holiday meal to enjoy a small amount of dessert.
Practice portion control. Even with heavy holiday meals, you can still choose to eat smaller portions. That’s the easiest way to cut extra carbohydrates and fat.