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By: Jeni Tackett, Dietitian

Eating healthy is difficult for everyone during the holiday season. Individuals with diabetes must balance holiday treats with blood sugar control. If you have family or friends with diabetes, you can support rather than sabotage them. Here are some tips when hosting holiday meals with diabetic family and friends:

  • Help them stick to their plan by having healthy dishes for the whole family. Everyone benefits from healthy foods at snack and mealtime. Have a large salad, veggie tray, fresh fruit salad, or steamed vegetables at meals. Include at least two non-starchy vegetables at meals such as broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower.
  • Dish up at the counter instead of serving meals family style. Controlling portions is so much easier if you serve yourself at the counter and then sit down to enjoy your appropriately portioned plate of food. Eating family style with serving dishes at the table makes it too easy to grab just one more scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • Make drinks healthy. Offer fruit infused water, coffee, unsweetened iced tea or hot tea. Seltzer water or club soda with cut up lemons and limes is refreshing and low calorie!
  • Do not overdo dessert offerings. Make a few family favorites and cut into smaller portions (for example, cut a pie into 12 slices instead of 8) or make smaller sized cookies or brownies. Cutting back on the portion size of desserts is healthy for everyone. Remember the first three bites are the most delicious!
  • Add activity as a family tradition. Take a hike in the woods after your meal. My family goes to Illiniwek Forest Preserve every Christmas day. Or go to the YMCA on the Friday after Thanksgiving, play outside with the kids or grandkids or take the dog for a walk.

If you find that you or a loved one overindulges during the holidays, be positive about getting back on track. Healthy eating and diabetes control is a journey not a destination. You have to think positively and continue to support your family and friends and lead by example.


Create your plate: American Diabetes Association:

Jeni Tackett is a registered dietitian at Unity Point Health -Trinity and Rock Valley Physical Therapy. She majored in Nutrition and Dietetics at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Jeni enjoys sharing practical nutrition recommendations in her blogs and at public speaking engagements. Jeni lives in East Moline with her husband Nathan and children Noah and Lily.

The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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