Diabetics: Dodge Trouble During Holidays

Be careful not to load up on fat and sugar at parties

SUNDAY, Nov. 23, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Holidays are a stressful time, especially for the 16 million Americans living with diabetes.

However, the truth is that 60 percent of Americans are now overweight or obese, so a few healthy eating strategies helps all of us.

So, while helping a loved one with diabetes during the holidays, help yourself as well with these healthy-eating tips:

  • Grab a healthy snack before the party. This will help you avoid overeating later, says the American Diabetic Association (ADA).
  • Bring a low-fat or sugar-free dish as your contribution to the party.
  • Be the host at your own party. That way, you can control what goes on the buffet table.
  • Go light on the alcohol and heavy on the water.
  • Keep your portions under control. You can eat some of what you crave, just not a lot.
  • Make healthy choices. According to the ADA, one slice of pecan pie has the same calories as two slices of apple pie. You make the call.
  • Keep in mind that turkey has fewer calories per ounce than ham, and that white meat is lower in fat than dark. The ADA suggests trying pork loin roast or seafood, both low in fat, as an alternative main meal.
  • Make mashed potatoes with water, skim milk, olive oil and garlic or, better yet, substitute with a baked potato.
  • When cooking, use substitutes like chicken broth and skim milk instead of butter, egg whites instead of whole eggs, or non-fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise, say specialists at the Outpatient Diabetes and Weight Management programs at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
  • Reduce stress, which can raise blood sugar, by getting your shopping done early and by exercising regularly. Raking the leaves or shoveling the sidewalk are good bets this time of the year.

More information

For more on living with diabetes, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: American Diabetic Association; Outpatient Diabetes and Weight Management programs, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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