Christmas is round the corner
It’s that time of year once more… wrapping mania has begun, empty stockings are eagerly out to hang, and trees are merrily draped in tinsel and glittering baubles.
It can only mean one thing: Christmas.
The festive season is often one of indulgence; extra quality time with loved ones, more fun than you can shake a cracker at, and, naturally, delicious food and treats around every snow-capped corner...
Managing diabetes at Christmas
For those living with diabetes, Christmastime doesn’t mean a lump of coal in your veritable food stocking – it simply requires a little extra consideration and management.
Follow our helpful pointers to ensure that your diet, and your diabetes, isn’t compromised during the array of foodie celebrations and into the New Year.
Being a time of indulgence and celebration, much traditional Christmas fare tends to be higher in fat, sugar and salt than our usual diets. Add to that the sudden appearance of candy canes, chocolates and tempting treats, and it’s possible to get in a festive food fix.
If you have diabetes, or are close to someone who does, you may find that this time of year can make managing your diabetes more difficult, as you are confronted with both larger portions and lots of different food and drink options.
Quick tips for managing Christmas dinner
To help manage diabetes at this time, try these tips to make your meal a little healthier:
- Fill up on the array of vegetables available
- Have less of the higher fat foods on offer
- If having a dessert, try to have a smaller serving of main course and stick to one portion of your sweet treat
- Try and keep your Christmas dinner to one day, and choose healthier options into the New Year
- Remember there are no ‘forbidden’ foods but go easy on the treats
The main event
Christmas dinner is often the highly-anticipated, much-enjoyed star attraction, a moment to gather with extended friends and family and share a meal together.
Read on for our quick tips on how to make managing a celebration dinner a little easier.
Why not try some of our classic Christmas recipes? The good news is that turkey is a low-fat white meat - that is, if you can resist the skin! Feast your eyes on our side dishes, accompaniments, and other tasty treats…
A meal to remember - our Christmas-inspired recipes
We're putting all of these on our foodie wishlist...
A veggie centrepiece which tastes great alongside traditional roast dinner trimmings. The fat comes primarily from the nut content.
Spicedpaprika roast roots
This delicately-spiced roots are a warming and flavoursome veg side dish.
This classic bake will brighten up your potatoes, providing a tasty vegetable side dish.
A quick and easy sauce to accompany your celebration dinner.
Lower-fatcarrot and swede mash
A tasty vegetable dish which is a good lower-fat alternative to mashed potato.
Satisfyingcauliflower and broccoli cheese
This lower-fat version of this classic still tastes really cheesy. The broccoli adds colour and boosts the nutrients.
Flavoursomesage, onion and sweet potato stuffing
No roast is complete without stuffing - this classic comes with a twist.
A delicious take on traditional cabbage.
An old favourite to serve alongside your festive trimmings.
And don't forget the sweet treats..
This tasty pudding is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It keeps for up to a week if stored in the fridge.
Bite-sized, healthier versions of the traditional Christmas pudding, with fruit and spices
Crumbly, fruitymince pies
A Christmas classic gets a healthier twist. Perfect in front of the fire with family.
And, because it’s present-giving season, here are a mouth-watering selection of our healthy party foods to help you put on a seasonal spread… healthy party foods
A toast to your good health
Alcohol is often part and parcel of celebrating, but, when you’re enjoying yourself, drinking a little more mulled wine than you intended is a common pitfall.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes or not, guidelines recommend that men and women should not regularly consume more than 14 units a week and if you do have as much as 14 units, spread this over 3 days or more.
Alcohol packs empty calories, so bear this in mind if losing weight is your goal. For a festive alternative to alcoholic Christmas tipples, shake up avirgin mojito when friends come to call.
If you are drinking, limit drinks with a high sugar content such as liquors and sweet wines. Some festive drinks are higher in fat too!
And, remember if you treat your diabetes with insulin and certain Type 2 diabetes medications that can cause hypos, be aware that drinking alcohol can make hypos more likely.
Busier than a Christmas elf
Naturally, the run-up to the big day, and all the events and festivities throughout December, can make it an incredibly busy time of year. You may find it more difficult than usual to stick to your eating routine, but this is still important.
Keeping to your regular meal times not only helps to avoid any between-meal grazing, but also supports the
balance of blood glucose levels. Sticking to the principles of your usual healthy, balanced diet, and having breakfast, lunch and dinner as you would during the rest of the year, is the best approach.
Many restaurants offer set menus over the Christmas period. If you’re eating out, see if the nutritional information is available on-line, so you can plan ahead and pick a healthy option.
Also, it’s always useful to follow the golden rule of filling most of your plate with tasty veg or salad – this can help you to feel full without cranking up the calories.
Only good surprises, please
Christmas can often mean sitting more and moving less, overindulgence, and a break from normal routine, which, in turn, can result in the odd raised blood glucose reading.
If these are rare occurrences, they shouldn’t affect long-term diabetes control, so try not to worry too much.
With a little planning, there’s plenty of room in your diet to enjoy the treats available this season – a slight break from the norm won’t affect your management too much in the long term.
A slight break from the norm is to be expected - enjoy it, then get back on track the next day. Why not escape thehustle and bustle, or dodge the family row over the remote control on Boxing day, and go for an exhilarating walk in the countryside to help burn off some of those mince pies?
A final festive note
Above all, enjoy yourself! Diabetes does not need to hold you back during the glitzy festivities and celebrations – it just requires giving your usual healthy eating principles a seasonal twist.
From all of us at Enjoy Food, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy start to the New Year.