As we near the end of November, you’re likely thinking about preparing or attending at least one holiday meal. Did you know that in addition to marking the start of the holiday season, November is Diabetes Awareness month? The holiday season is a wonderful time to catch up with friends and family and enjoy good food together, but it can also pose a challenge for those striving to manage their diabetes. As families come together over food, there are opportunities to consider the health of others while still preparing tasty meals that will nourish everyone at the table.
The Plate Method is a tool for diabetes management that can be applied to every meal, including special holiday meals. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with grain or starchy food, and a quarter with protein. Add a serving of fruit or dairy, or one of each, as your meal plan allows.
If you’re hosting the holiday meal, make sure the food options allow for someone to apply The Plate Method if they need to do so. Many holiday meals are plentiful in starchy food (mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing, desserts, etc.). If this is the case for you, try offering more vegetables than starches this year! You may consider using cauliflower, a non-starchy vegetable, to make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, or cauliflower stuffing in place of traditional stuffing.
Other diabetes-management tips for the holidays include:
- Choosing to drink water or unsweetened beverages such as coffee or tea. Beware of alcoholic beverages and fancy coffee drinks, as they can be high in calories and carbohydrates!
- Paying attention to portion sizes
- Staying active
- Planning ahead
For more diabetes management tips, check out Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen, a free online course from OSU Extension. Enrolled participants can access interactive presentations, grocery store tour videos, websites and aps to help manage diabetes. They also have the opportunity to interact with other participants and OSU Extension professionals via discussion forums, which serve as a place to ask questions and find encouragement.