If you have diabetes, you need to watch your diet all year, but the holiday season presents a particular challenge: how to navigate the bountiful buffets at parties and dinners when so much of the food being served is loaded with sugar, carbohydrates, fat and other temptations.
See also: AARP's Thanksgiving Survival Guide
It’s not easy, but it can be done. The American Diabetes Association recommends planning around parties and gatherings so that meals aren’t consumed too far apart — Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, for example, may be served later in the day than your normal lunchtime, so don’t forget to snack accordingly (and healthfully!). The ADA also advises increasing your physical activity during the holidays to help compensate for the odd indulgence, keeping portion sizes reasonable and remembering to make room on your plate for veggies. As for the traditional bird of honor, turkey is one of your healthiest options this time of year, given its low fat content and the fact that it’s carbohydrate-free (just remember to avoid the skin!).
We’ve combed our recipe database to come up with a menu of diabetes-friendly holiday entrees, side dishes, starters and desserts. And though those with diabetes need to be especially aware of their food choices this time of year, the recipes on the next page are healthy, delicious holiday options for anyone.
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Roasted Cream of Butternut Squash Soup
Roasting brings out a deep, concentrated flavor in foods. This soup tastes incredibly rich, but it's low in fat and calories.
Foolproof Roast Turkey
The seasonings in the brine bring out the turkey’s natural flavor, making it taste more like a farm bird with subtle herbal overtones.
Cheesy Butter Beans
Serve these tasty beans with grilled or roasted meat, or add a salad and enjoy them as a light main course.
Slow-Roasted Root Vegetables
Colorful and tasty root vegetables — carrots, turnips, parsnips and potatoes — are slow-roasted in butter and olive oil.
January Lamb Stew
This is an entree both to serve at home — ask others to bring a green salad, some crusty bread, a good bottle of red wine and a chocolate or cherry dessert — and to tote to another location.
Olive and Artichoke Tapenade
Serve the tapendade with a basket of crostini, small slices of toasted bread brushed with olive oil.
Pickled Spice Peaches
An easy-to-make pickle that cries out to be served with smoked ham.
Chunky Chocolate Shortbread
This crisp shortbread cookie gets lots of crunch from the nuts and a great chocolate flavor from the chopped chocolate.
Cranberry Pear Brown Betty
Textures and flavors combine to make a delicious old-fashioned holiday treat.
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