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How to Plan Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Meals

How to Plan Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Meals

November has arrived, and with it the holiday season, a time filled with warmth, joy, and delicious food, of course! But if you or a loved one is among the millions of Americans living with diabetes, the thought of navigating holiday meals can be daunting. 

At Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, our board-certified providers offer specialized diabetes care to patients of all ages. We’re also committed to helping you make the holidays both festive and health-conscious.  

Keep reading as we give our top tips for making holiday dining something to celebrate with joy for those with diabetes. 

1. Start with a balanced plate

Begin by mentally dividing your plate into sections. Half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or a colorful salad. One-quarter should be dedicated to protein sources like turkey or tofu. 

The last quarter? That’s where your carbs come in — think sweet potatoes or a slice of whole-grain bread. This simple strategy ensures you get a balanced mix, essential for blood sugar control.

2. Mind the carbs; don’t shun them completely

Carbohydrates have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels. As tempting as it might be to dive into every dish, prioritize! If mashed potatoes are your absolute favorite, maybe you can skip the dinner roll. 

Remember, it’s all about balance. You don’t have to shun carbs completely during the holidays. When in doubt, consider checking with your provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice about how certain dishes might affect your glucose readings.

3. Reach for whole foods over processed ones

Whole foods like fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins are your best friends during the holidays. Not only are they packed with essential nutrients, but they also lack the added sugars and preservatives found in many processed foods. So, when prepping or choosing dishes, lean toward recipes that feature these wholesome ingredients.

4. Spice things up the right way

This holiday season, ditch the extra salt and sugar. Instead, reach for herbs and spices to add flavor. Rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon can make dishes pop without negatively impacting your blood sugar. 

Plus, many herbs and spices have added health benefits. For example, studies show that cinnamon might help lower blood sugar levels. 

5. Stay hydrated and away from alcohol

While holiday cocktails and sodas might be calling your name, remember that water is your best ally this holiday season. Staying hydrated can help with digestion and even assist in maintaining steady blood sugar levels. If plain water isn’t your thing, try sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime for a festive twist!

6. Be mindful of portions

It’s easy to get carried away, especially when surrounded by mouth-watering dishes. Try using smaller plates, as they can help in portion control. And be sure to wait about 20 minutes before going for seconds to give your body time to signal if it’s truly still hungry.

7. Stay active this season

After your holiday meal, resist the urge to plop down on the couch for the rest of the evening. A brisk walk with family or even some light dancing to holiday tunes can help burn off some of those extra calories and keep your blood sugar in check.

8. Remember the power of ongoing medical care

The holidays are a busy but small part of the year. To truly manage your diabetes effectively, it's essential to maintain regular diabetes management appointments with your provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice, who can offer personalized guidance. 

Our team members equip you with the tools and advice needed not just for the festive season but for every day. Remember, you're not alone in this journey — with the right guidance, you can enjoy the holidays and every day to the fullest.

This fall and winter, enjoy the festivities, indulge in your favorite dishes mindfully, and always remember, your team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice is here to support you every step of the way — an appointment is only a click or phone call away.

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