Surviving the holidays with diabetes

Staff Report

Everyone loves eating during the holidays. From the traditional Thanksgiving meal to office parties and New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of opportunities to overindulge in food and drinks that may not be good for you. Some of us try to watch what we eat; others not so much. But what about the 25.8 million children and adult diabetics in this country who are faced with challenging holiday eating situations — and the serious health consequences as a result of it?

Misconceptions about what you can eat and long-held family traditions often make it confusing and difficult to do what is right for your overall health.

Rockford Health Physicians dietician Angela Bianchi, R.D., offered some tips to make the holidays easier for diabetics. “Research shows that most adults tend to gain a few pounds during the holidays,” she said. “They may lose one or two pounds, but usually keep at least one extra pound per year. The holidays are not a time for deprivation. Try to take the focus off food and make it more about family and friends.”

Some things to remember:

• People think there is such a thing as a diabetic diet, but people who eat a diabetic-type diet are just eating healthy generally. People with diabetes are following a healthy diet, the way we all should be eating.

• Don’t go to that big meal overly hungry. Eat sensibly throughout the day — breakfast, lunch and dinner, with maybe even a small snack before the big meal.

• Have a plan and be prepared. Look over the spread first and pick the food you really enjoy. Fill up with fruits and vegetables.

• Use reduced-fat and milk products, and go easy on sodium. You can flavor food with herbs and spices.

• Do a crustless pumpkin pie, which saves calories. But you still get the benefit of the beta carotene in the pie.

From the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2011, issue

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