Healthy Eating and Behavior Tips for the Holidays

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By : dLife Editors

The holidays have arrived and this year you can commit to a healthy season packed full of cheer and mouthwatering treats but without the unwanted weight gain and high blood sugar levels.

Here are some eating and cooking tips for you to start today so that your holiday is off to a happy and healthy start.

Healthy Eating and Behavior Tips

1. Continue to Count Carbs
Carbohydrate counting can be a great way to control blood glucose levels and weight. Unfortunately, during the holiday season, many people stop carb counting because they get too busy. Whether you’re carb counting to dose insulin with meals or carb counting to control blood glucose levels and weight, this task will really keep you on track during the holiday season.

2. Socialize Away from the Table
The most popular socialization area is usually in the kitchen or near the food table. Many times people are talking and eating and they don’t even realize what they are consuming. This is a dangerous behavior that can lead to overeating and surprisingly high blood glucose levels. Make a conscious effort to socialize away from the food this year.

3. Make One Trip to the Buffet Table
Buffets can be very tempting and can lead to an excessive amount of carb, calorie, and fat intake. This year allow yourself only one trip to the buffet table and remember to load up on salad and vegetables too.

4. Continue Exercise and Record Keeping
Exercise cannot be skipped during the holidays. Find a way to work physical activity into your schedule, whether it is with a quick exercise video, mall walking, pedometer use or a trip to the gym. This will really help keep your blood glucose levels controlled and decrease weight gain. Also, record food and exercise intake in a diary and you will be amazed at how this will help keep you on track.

5. Be Realistic
It may be unrealistic to lose weight during the holidays, so you might set weight maintenance as a goal and work on weight loss in the upcoming New Year.

6. Modify Recipes to Decrease Fat and Carbohydrates
See the tips below on how to make some healthy cooking and making changes. Many times your guest won’t even know you’ve made these changes to the food.

Cooking Tips for a Healthy Holiday

Reducing Sugar in Recipes:

• For cookies and cakes: Use ½ cup sugar for each cup of flour or use sugar-substitutes and sugar substitutes made especially for baking.
• For quick bread and muffins: Use 1 tablespoon sugar for each cup of flour
• Vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg can enhance flavor when sugar is reduced

Reducing Fat in Recipes:

• For cookies and quick bread: Use 2 tablespoons fat per cup of flour. An unsaturated oil, such as canola oil is best.
• Unsweetened applesauce can be used to reduce part of the fat in a recipe. Use ½ cup unsweetened applesauce for ½ cup oil.

Lower-Fat Substitutions: Instead of this, use that!

Heavy cream…Evaporated skim milk
Whole milk…Skim milk
Egg…2 egg whites (equals 1 egg)
Sour cream…Light sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt or low-fat buttermilk

You can still enjoy the holiday festivities and food with diabetes. Use some of the above tips for a healthy holiday and try making this scrumptious banana bread for your party guests – they will love it.


Banana Nut Bread

Makes: 16 servings
Serving Size: 1 slice

Light cooking spray
1½ cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 4 bananas)
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup low-fat buttermilk
4 egg whites
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup halved walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl combine bananas, oil, buttermilk, and egg whites; mix well. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients all at once and mix well.
5. Stir in chocolate chips to the batter (reserve 1 Tablespoon chocolate chips). Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon chocolate chips on top of batter.
6. Bake 50-60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

By: Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

Updated 10/18 by dLife Editors