Sticking to a diabetic diet is difficult anytime of the year, but the holidays offer a unique challenge for those diagnosed with diabetes. Holiday and office parties galore, numerous sweets dropped off at work and at home by well-meaning friends, and the ever-popular family get-togethers can stress the willpower of any health conscious person.
For diabetics who must adhere to a strict diet or further endanger their health, holiday eating choices are especially difficult.
The rate your plate concept suggested by the American Diabetes Association provides a visual prototype for anyone who desires to keep his or her weight under control, but it is especially helpful to diabetics.
How to rate your plate
Rating your plate provides an easy visual for people who desire to eat a healthy meal without weighing and measuring their food. This is especially handy when eating in restaurants or during holiday parties or large gatherings.
The basic concept suggests dividing your plate into three areas. One-half of the plate is for vegetables, one-fourth for carbohydrates such as healthy grains or starchy foods like rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, or peas. The other fourth holds the main dish or protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, or meat substitute.
This plan allows you to create your own meals. Stay within the guidelines and you can eat a large variety of foods.
Keep an eye on serving sizes
Diabetics can still eat their favorite foods while they keep their blood sugar in check. Paying attention to portion control allows them to eat the foods they like. One plate of food divided as suggested above along with a glass of milk and piece of fruit contains a complete meal. Diabetic dietitians work with people so they can include their favorite foods.
Over the holidays, many families have turkey or ham for their big meals. Rating the amount of food on your plate allows you to eat most anything on the table. The important rule of thumb is portion size. Diabetics should not have one-half of their plate filled with meat and the other half with potatoes, gravy, and dressing. Next thing they know, their blood sugar is off the charts.
Where does dessert fit in?
Diabetics can eat dessert, but must keep on eye on the total number of servings. For the diabetic, carbs do count. For example, if you desire a small piece of cake or a couple of cookies, you must cut back on a carb serving such as potatoes or corn.
A piece of fresh fruit or fat-free or low-fat yogurt are a delicious and healthy dessert alternative. Check with your dietitian to see if a small scoop or two of sugar free ice cream is an option for you.
A healthy portion size of turkey or ham with potatoes or rice, and the rest of the plate filled with your favorite vegetables, can provide a very healthy holiday meal. Timed snacks throughout the day can keep you from feeling hungry between meals.
If you are a diabetic or desire to lose weight, follow the rate your plate concept for a healthy and delicious holiday season.