Sweet Holiday News for People With Diabetes
Holiday Survival Kit
The goal during the holidays is to budget your sweets. That requires:
- Advance planning
- An emphasis on healthful recipes
- Daily exercise
Here are some ways to put those guidelines into action:
- Decide ahead of time what and how much you will eat ("I'll only have a small piece of apple pie with no ice cream") and how you will handle social pressure ("No thank you, I'm too full"). Then stick to your plan.
- Develop personal "rules" for sweet indulgences -- such as sharing one dessert with a friend, limiting serving size, scraping off the high-fat whipped-cream topping, or rationing desserts to three per week (in which case you're only postponing, not denying, yourself a treat). Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!
- Volunteer to bring a favorite low-sugar dessert, such as plain cookies, baked apples, or sugar-free puddings, to social functions. That way there will be something appropriate for you to eat.
- Make sure you don't take a holiday from daily exercise. Continue your routine workouts in addition to extra activities, such as parking far from and walking to the mall, or power-walking while shopping.
Almost any holiday dessert recipe can be revised to be healthier without sacrificing taste. Cut the sugar by one-third to one-half in a recipe and increase the use of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other sweet-tasting spices and flavorings. Many sweet desserts are also high in fat, so replace fat with pureed fruit, such as applesauce or baby-food prunes, in recipes for chocolate brownies, cakes, or cookies. You'll also find you don't need as much sugar, since fruit supplies sweet taste. (You still must keep the portion small, since replacing fat with fruit increases the carbohydrate content, which must be monitored closely.) Sugar substitutes are another alternative for just about everyone, including diabetics.
People with diabetes can look forward to the holidays, with their seasonal traditions and social celebrations, as long as they remember that the game plan doesn't start at the dining table; it includes the entire day's food intake as well as exercise.