Festival Meal Planning - Christmas - Sridhars DiaCare

Festival season are one of the most challenging periods for diabetics as food and eating during this period has to be properly planned in such a way that it should not disturb the glycemic control of the patient. This is the period when you meet your friends and family and with proper planning and selection of food you can enjoy the festival time without disrupting your diabetes control.

Christmas time you definitely would love to indulge in some sweet treats with your friends. The diet pattern might change totally especially when you go for a party or if you are hoisting at home. It is important to realize that all sweets are high in calorie content especially carbohydrates which would elevate your blood sugar levels immediately after consumption. Always try to include small portion of dessert in your meal by reducing your total carbohydrate intake in your diet. For example, if you wish to eat a piece of cake as a dessert, you should reduce or cut down the quantity of rice from what you usually eat for your main course.

How can you enjoy your parties?

  1. Although desserts are not advisable on a regular basis, during festive periods, you can indulge in a small serving of your favourite dessert. You need to plan and decide ahead of time what you are going to eat and should limit the quantity to minimum. Accordingly, you should reduce your main meal intake so as to adjust the calorie level.
  2. When you are in a social gathering you are likely to face social pressures to eat. But carefully avoid overeating so that your gycemic levels are not challenged.
  3. You can try sharing  your dessert with your close friend or family so that you would only consume half of the portion of dessert which would help in reducing your total calorie intake. Try to avoid taking the cream or butter icing by scraping it off while eating. This would also help in controlling your sugar and calorie intake.
  4. If you are preparing a cake or a dessert at home, try to revise the recipe so that it is healthier and still tasty. You can reduce the amount of sugar in your dessert or substitute it with artificial sweeteners which would make your dish absolutely guilt free and diabetic friendly.
  5. If you are careful enough to plan and prepare some healthy snacks, you can enjoy the party without affecting your glycemic control. Always be aware of what you are nibbling on snacks during a party. Go for lightly salted nuts or some freshly cut vegetables or such other healthy options. Avoid highly salted and deep fried foods.
  6. Try to stay physically active during the festive periods. Don’t break your exercise routine or get stuck on the sofa. By making healthy food choices and staying physically active you can keep  your blood sugar levels under control during festivals. Care should be taken to control and monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels too.
  7. Make sensible food choices but still enjoy your food. Try to cut calories and fat from your diet without compromising the taste.
  8. Try to remove the chicken or turkey skin while grilling it. Reduce or avoid using red meat and go for lean meat like chicken or turkey.
  9. Avoid salad dressings high in mayonnaise or fats. A fresh lemon dressing or vingerette dressing will give you a healthy and tangy salad.
  10. Try grilling your meat than deep frying it.
  11. Substitute roast potatoes with sweet potatoes as they are lower in glycemic index and packed with more nutrients. Try to dry roast the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and some spices of your choice.
  12. Include a lot of vegetables in your meal as this would help in bringing down your blood sugar levels and improve your food quality.
  13. Add some nuts like walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds or flax seeds into your salads as this would help in filling your stomach and reducing your hunger pangs. Try to soak the nuts for ½ hour in water as it would help in removing the phytates from them.

You should keep watch on what you drink as most of the soft drinks and fruit juices are high in sugar. Alcohol is also very high in calories, so care should be taken to restrict the alcohol intake to two units maximum. Alcohol can lower blood glucose levels and increase the risk of having hypo glycemia and it can be life threatening. So remember not to take alcohol on empty stomachs this can trigger hypoglycemia. Try to include protein based snacks like dry roasted peanuts or low fat grilled chicken or unsweetened yogurt.

Over indulging and changing your routine completely can give some high glucose reading than normal. One or two high readings are normal during the periods and it won’t affect your long term diabetes control. But by carefully selecting your food and by staying active, you can avoid persistent high readings and thus can avoid compromising your health during festive seasons.

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