Diabetes Forecast

Healthy Eating at the Holidays

The Diabetes Plate Method can be your guide to good-for-you eating during celebrations

By Lara Hamilton, RD, CDE


Celebrations and holidays can be a challenging time to stay on track with healthy eating. The Diabetes Plate Method can be a guide. Remember to focus on lots of nonstarchy vegetables, which are usually available as raw veggies for dips and in side dishes. Aim for veggie trays, side salads, green beans, or any other nonstarchy vegetable dish.

Starchy foods are typically plentiful at the holidays with bread, potatoes, pie, stuffing/dressing, pasta dishes, cookies, and more on display. The key for celebrations is moderation not deprivation. Ask yourself which foods mean the most to you and choose your favorites.

For example, you may love your grandma's sweet potato dish and choose to eat that instead of the bread and pasta that's also part of the meal. Choose a lean protein, such as pork tenderloin, turkey, chicken, fish, or shrimp for the protein section of your plate.

Fill your plate only once and chew slowly to savor each bite.

Fitting in Sweets

Holidays and other special occasions often feature sugary and high-carb foods. Whether it is cake for a birthday, pie for Thanksgiving, or ice cream on the 4th of July, sweets are everywhere. Holidays are special occasion, so if you'd like to enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert, you can.

Most sweets have a lot of carbohydrate, so you'll want to keep portion sizes small. If you choose to do so, you can work a sweet into your meal plan by substituting a small portion of dessert for the grain/starch section of your plate, or for the fruit or dairy on the side, depending on your meal plan. For example, if you want a small serving of pumpkin pie, then don't eat a dinner roll or sweet potatoes during the main course.

>> See how to use the plate when you dine out.

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