Holiday Entertaining for Diabetes

Tips for the Hostess and Guest

The holidays are filled with celebrations with family and friends, work parties… and lots of indulgent temptations. With a little planning and know-how of the host and the guest, wise food choices can be made to help people with diabetes manage their blood glucose. Consider these helpful tips for the host and guest:

Tips for the host:

  • Include a variety of healthy options. Offer foods that are higher in fibre and lower in fat, sodium, and sugar. Prepare a vegetable or fruit platter and grilled or broiled leans meats, poultry, or fish without the skin. Use low fat or fat-free dressings.
  • Serve healthy alternatives to traditional favorites. Experiment with delicious diabetes recipes, click here for some ideas. Lower the fat in foods by reducing the amount of oil and butter added, or swap whole milk products with their low-fat versions.
  • Go for high fibre options. For example, provide whole wheat or whole grain rolls instead of white rolls. Include a dish made with beans, peas, or lentils.
  • Don’t forget sugar-free beverages. Drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners are safe to consume in moderation. They also don’t increase blood glucose levels. Stock your fridge with diet pop and other sugar-free drinks for the party.
  • Serve food with alcohol. People with diabetes should eat carbohydrate-rich foods while they are consuming alcohol. Make sure to make grains and starches or fruit available.

Tips for the guest:

  • Don’t go to the party starving. Help tame your hunger by eating a handful of carrots, or some cheese and crackers before you head out.
  • Be picky. Scan the choices of food before you fill your plate. Balance the choice that you feel is less healthy with a healthier choice.
  • Follow the half-quarter-quarter rule. Aim to have half your plate filled with vegetables, a quarter with grains and starches, and a quarter with meat and alternatives. Following this will give you balanced nutrition and help manage your blood sugars.
  • Don’t stress! The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed. Bring the focus away from eating, and celebrate your life at this time of year. Don’t be discouraged if you overindulge, just adjust your food choices at your next meal and plan to be more active.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. People with diabetes can drink alcohol in moderation. This means consuming no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women. Drinking alcohol can lead to low blood glucose, so while drinking, monitor your blood glucose and eat carbohydrate-rich foods. Talk to a Certified Diabetes Educator or Registered Dietitian for more information.

Remember - all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan. It is the responsibility of the host to make healthy choices available, and the responsibility of the guest to make those healthy choices.