Healthy Turkey DinnerThe holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and — let’s be honest — enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods! But for someone with diabetes, the worry over calories and carbohydrates can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. We have 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 (3 to 4 ounces), 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 below 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!

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

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and SageBrussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Sage

Serves: 12 (about 1/2 cup each)
Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 c. coarsely chopped chestnuts (about 4 oz; see tip below)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  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.
  3. To make ahead: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  4. Tip: You don’t need to prepare your own chestnuts for this dish. Cooked and peeled chestnuts are available in jars during the fall and winter months. Look for them in the baking aisle or near other seasonal food items.

Daily Values:

92% vitamin C

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories: 68 Protein: 2g
Carbohydrate: 10g Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 117mg
Dietary Fiber: 3g Sugars: 2g
Fat: 3g