Chips and dips, cheese and crackers, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, pizza, and an abundance of desserts from candy to cookies and cake can make any party a scary scene for people with diabetes.
Halloween is a favorite holiday for most kids, but it can be a stressful time for parents of kids with diabetes (and adults with diabetes, too). Click here for some kid-related tips for surviving this year’s Halloween.
It seems that Halloween has grown in popularity over the years, and it’s not just for kids anymore. Halloween parties are a huge hit for adults as well.
Along with amazing costumes, at these parties, you’ll usually find plenty of and high fat and high carbohydrate treats.
Halloween, too, can be the kick-off to the party season: Football parties may have already started for some, and this will be soon followed by holiday parties and, later, the ever-popular Superbowl Sunday party.
Below are some tips for staying healthy at Halloween parties and any time of year:
First, hosting the party is the easiest way to control your eating because you can buy and prepare healthy appetizers and snacks. Here are a few examples:
Veggies and Dip
Use light sour cream and plain, fat-free yogurt for your dip base. Then, instead of using powdered ranch dressing mix or soup mixes, all of which are high in sodium, you can add your own herbs and seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, a dash of hot sauce and some chopped chives. You can also serve veggies with hummus, which is made from chickpeas and found in the produce section of most grocery stores.
Cheese and Crackers
Use whole-wheat crackers and light cheese. There are now great tasting, reduced-fat cheeses on the market, sold in blocks or in spreadable form, that are much lower in saturated fat.
Turkey or veggies wraps make a nutritious, fun, and filling appetizer. Use a whole-wheat tortilla and fill with an avocado spread and veggies. You can add hummus, garbanzo or kidney beans for a hearty filling. Cut the wraps into appetizer size pieces (use toothpicks to hold them together) and you have a high-fiber, protein-rich snack.
Pizza and Salad
It’s an American favorite, and having diabetes doesn’t make this a forbidden food. You can make your own healthy version that is simple and tasty. Start with a pre-packaged, whole-wheat, Italian pizza crust found in any grocery store. Top the crust with tomato sauce and your favorite veggies, such as mushrooms, spinach, or green peppers, and sprinkle with reduced-fat, shredded mozzarella cheese.
Scary Fruit Tray
You will still find kiwis in the grocery store. Slice them up and add a sliced strawberry on the last layer to create a monster’s tongue. Add marshmallows for eyes with chocolate chips as eye-balls. Draw Jack-o-Lantern faces on a tray of tangerines and you have a scary fruit tray ready in minutes.
Sugar-free puddings and gelatins can be incorporated into many desserts. Pumpkin bread is also really popular this time of year, and it’s a treat that can be modified to decrease carbs and fat (see recipe below).
Pumpkin Spice Walnut Bread
Makes: 12 servings
Serving size: 1 slice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup halved walnuts
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, buttermilk, oil, egg, egg whites and mix well. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add pumpkin mixture all at once. Mix well.
5. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
This pumpkin bread is wonderfully moist, and you’ll love the smell of it baking in the oven. The carbs can be further reduced by using a sugar substitute; just make sure to use one that works with baking.
If You Are Not Hosting
If you are not hosting the party, healthy eating can be more challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how:
- Most parties will have some healthy options, such as veggies, but then it may be served with a dip that’s high in calories and saturated fat. So, you can go heavy on the veggies and very light on the dip.
- If cheese and crackers are an option, and whole-wheat crackers are nowhere to be found, eat a few small pieces of cheese and nibble one cracker in between bites.
- Check with the host before the party and offer to bring an appetizer. This way you can guarantee there will be at least one healthy item for you to eat at the party. And, you may want to make this a hearty appetizer to help fill you up.
Being prepared for any eating situation is one of the best ways to deal with your diabetes. Most of the time it does require some planning and especially for a party.
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 by dLife Editors 10/18.