If you live with diabetes, holiday eating can be stressful. You may worry that you can’t enjoy tasty treats over the holiday season when you have diabetes.
We have you covered! Previously we provided you with a few tips for handling parties and events. Now we want to share with you how to enjoy tasty treats when you have diabetes—type one or type two or even celiac disease!
Meals and eating shouldn’t be stressful but when you live with diabetes or a food-related illness, your anxiety levels can quickly go through the roof over the holiday season. Previously we provided you with a few tips for handling parties and events. Now we want to share with you how to enjoy some tasty treats when you have diabetes—type one, type two, or celiac disease.
Holiday eating with type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, you know that you really can eat anything but poison and simply dose for the carbohydrate count. Granted the actual process is a little more complex but basically, if you have insulin and a carb count, you can eat to your heart’s content. This can be a great way for parents of children with diabetes to navigate those holidays meals—count carbs and dose accordingly allowing the child to just enjoy being a child during this time.
As you age, many adults want to have a bit tighter control and you may begin to restrict your food choices a bit more. You may be reducing the number of complex carbs you are eating or even trying out the keto method of eating.
Whether you are counting carbs and dosing or carefully monitoring your food intake, a good carb counting app can be a lifesaver to enjoy tasty treats when you have diabetes. A few that we recommend are Calorie King, MyFitnessPal, and the Fitbit food diary. All of them can be used to give you the nutritional analysis of many of your favourite foods. If you are stuck, Google will also provide you with a quick estimate of carbohydrate counts for many foods.
Holiday eating with type 2 diabetes
If you are living with type 2 diabetes, you may want to be a bit more cautious about carb counts and look for lower-calorie options. Consider things like cauliflower mashed potatoes as a healthier alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. Instead of canned cranberries, this year, make your own cranberry sauce so you can control the sugar and preservatives. There are even some lower-calorie desserts like sugar-free pumpkin bread for you to try.
There are two big things to remember when you are watching your calorie intake over the holidays. First is that sugar-free does not always mean lower carbohydrates. Always make sure to thoroughly look at the nutritional analysis of your food before making decisions whenever possible. The second thing is to note that many sugar-free candies and baked goods use sugar alcohols to replace sugar. Sugar alcohols can cause diarrhea if you consume too many so be forewarned!
Holiday eating ideas when following a Keto Diet
Keto diets have become more and more popular for people who are watching their weight. Some people living with diabetes also feel that this diet makes it easier for them to manage blood glucose levels. We advocate for healthy eating which includes a variety of foods but if you feel that keto is the right way for you to eat and your doctor agrees, then here are a few food ideas that you might find tasty this holiday season!
Gluten-Free Holiday treat ideas
Many people living with type 1 diabetes also have to deal with celiac disease. This adds a new challenge to holiday eating. Thankfully there are many amazing bakers who have given us many great recipes to try. You can also purchase a lot of gluten-free treats online or through local grocers.
Remember that many of the holiday table staples are naturally gluten-free. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas are all naturally gluten-free.
You can make your traditional gravy but make it gluten-free when you substitute cornstarch for your traditional flour. There are many online recipes for gluten-free rolls or you can make biscuits with gluten-free Bisquick. Thankfully there are also thousands of amazingly tasty cookies and other baked treats that you can enjoy, just make sure to keep a close eye on the carb count of these items. They can be higher than their gluten-made counterparts because of the variety of flours being used.
With a bit of planning, you can enjoy tasty treats when you have diabetes
The holidays can be stressful but with a little planning, it can be manageable and you can enjoy tasty treats when you have diabetes
If you are a baker, make some of your own tasty treats this holiday season. Make sure to put them away in the freezer to keep them from being eaten all at once.
When you make your own food, you will be able to monitor the sugar content and know exactly what is in what you are eating. This will also make it easier for you to count the carbohydrates. Treats can then be brought with you to family functions or evenings with friends. Everyone will enjoy your treats and you can relax knowing that they are safe for you to eat.
If you are not a baker, make choices that you can be more confident of the ingredients and carb counts. Enjoy fruit platters and veggie trays when you are out. Your waist will thank you in January!
The holidays are also the perfect time to support local businesses. There are more and more bakers who are paying attention to the ingredients that they use. Attend local fairs, craft sales or look for a small store in your community that is dedicated to offering healthier options for their clients. You may find some incredible gems that you can enjoy throughout the year!
How do you enjoy tasty treats when you have diabetes? We’d love to hear what works for you!
Read more tips on managing the holidays with diabetes.