Diabetes-friendly foods for the holidays

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

By Courtney Kremer

Hy-Vee Dietitian

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and — let’s be honest — enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods.

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But for someone with diabetes, the worry over calories and carbohydrates can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Your Hy-Vee dietitian has tips to help you enjoy your holiday favorites while keeping blood sugar stable.

First of all, a plan of attack is crucial. Keep the MyPlate method in mind as you fill your plate. Start by filling half the plate with non-starchy vegetables without added creams, sauces and butter. If you’re having a hard time finding enough vegetables to fill this half, think about adding fruits. Moving on to the rest of the plate, a quarter can be filled with starchy vegetables or grains — choose whole grains whenever possible. And finally, the last quarter of the plate should be filled with lean protein. The American Association of Diabetes Educators have some great ideas to get you started:

•Non-starchy vegetables: carrots, green beans, broccoli, salad, Brussels sprouts and asparagus are great options; or add cranberries, baked apples and pears to your plate.

•Grains and starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, mashed or baked potatoes, rice pilaf, or stuffing are great options.

•Protein: choose lean turkey slices (approximately three to four ounces, or the size of a deck of cards), avoid dark meat, remove skin before eating, and consider a fruit-based relish instead of gravy to top your lean protein.

In addition to balancing your plate, there are other steps you can take, such as being more mindful throughout the rest of the day. Start with a nutritious breakfast and include other healthful snacks during the day, rather than saving all of your carbs and calories for one large meal.

Don’t go into the meal starving or it is too easy to overeat. When it comes time to fill the plate, survey your options, pick out your favorites, then decide what will go on the plate and in what amounts. If you have the option, a smaller plate can also help you control your intake.

If you are the guest at the holiday feast, call the host to find out the menu, and consider offering to bring a side to share — the recipe above would be a tasty addition to the buffet. Walking or being active with your friends and family members after a large meal can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Even with the best of intentions, things don’t always go according to plan, so try your best and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Included is a delicious recipe to add to the menu, or bring to holiday gatherings.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Sage

Serves 12 (1/2 cup each)

Kremer All you need

•2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

•1 tbsp butter

•1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

•3 tbsp reduced-sodium chicken broth

•¾ cup coarsely chopped chestnuts

•2 tsp chopped fresh sage

•½ tsp salt

•Freshly ground pepper, to taste

All you do

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
2. Melt butter with oil and broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts, chestnuts and sage and cook, stirring often, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.