Do You Make Good Food Choices?

Test your holiday food smarts.

Medically Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on September 20, 2015
From the WebMD Archives

Holiday buffets are notorious diet-wreckers. And when you have diabetes, a table piled with high-carb, high-fat treats is a blood-sugar disaster waiting to happen.

WebMD diabetes community member max9821 avoids weight gain and sugar swings by planning ahead and brown-bagging meals. "I make sure I have enough of my own stuff so I am never tempted to indulge in any of the other food."

The method seems to work. "Didn’t gain an ounce and maintained fasting sugars in the low 80s," max9821 wrote after one holiday family gathering.

You don’t have to avoid the buffet this season. Just make better choices. Take this quiz to see how well you know holiday-party foods.


1. Salad is a healthy buffet choice, but which of these dressings is lightest?

a. Russian

b. Italian

c. Caesar


2. To visualize the right portion size, which object should you use?

a. A medium-sized dinner plate

b. Your head

c. Your fist


3. Which of these appetizer choices is healthiest?

a. Carrots with hummus

b. Pretzels

c. Guacamole and chips


4. If you choose to have alcohol, which drink is best?

a. Margarita

b. White wine spritzer

c. Vodka and cola


1. b. Italian dressing is the best of the three options, with just over 70 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. (Russian dressing has 106 calories, and Caesar has more than 160.)

Even better, choose a low-fat or fat-free dressing. No matter which salad topping you pick, don’t ladle it on. Serve dressing on the side, and dip your fork first in the dressing, then the salad. You’ll save nearly 100 calories.

2. c. Each of your fists is about the size of 1 cup of food. Two cups is a good portion size for adults.

One cup should be non-starchy vegetables (green beans, broccoli, mushrooms). Divide the remaining cup between whole grains and lean protein (skinless chicken breast, fish, tofu).

3. a. Carrots and hummus are high in vitamins but low in calories and fat.

Pretzels are also low-calorie, but they’re low in nutrition, too. They won’t fill you up, so you’ll be more likely to hit the buffet table for refills.

Avocados are good for you, but guacamole can be high in calories, and the tortilla chips that come with it are usually fried.

4. b. Alcohol doesn’t have to be off-limits as long as your doctor says it’s OK for you to drink. But do so in moderation -- no more than one drink for women and two for men. To cut the sugar and calories in wine or spirits, add a spritz of seltzer.

Ask Your Doctor

Can you recommend a dietitian to help me plan holiday meals?

Can I eat sweets? Can I drink alcohol?

Do I need to count carbohydrates? How do I do it?

If I overindulge and my blood sugar spikes, how can I lower it?

Show Sources


USDA: “Nutritional Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27.”

CDC: “Cutting Calories.”

Visiting Nurse Service of New York: “Diabetes and Holiday Buffets.”

University of Idaho Extension: “Healthy Diabetes Plate.”

CDC: “Eat More, Weigh Less?”

Joslin Diabetes Center.

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