Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips for People Living with Diabetes

Diabetes, Seasonal Tips Steward Health Care

The holiday season is fast approaching and for someone managing diabetes, it can often be a difficult time of year. High fat dips, sugary baked goods and processed foods can all pose a health hazard to a person living with diabetes. But there are steps one can take to keep their holiday meals interesting and healthy at the same time. Here are some tips to help you through the holidays.

Stock Your Pantry

The first step is to load up on some good healthy staples that can be used as substitutes or flavor enhancers. Add these items to your holiday grocery shopping list:

  • Artificial sweeteners. Okay, this is a no-brainer for most people with diabetes. But try using a little sweetener in a new way. Instead of store-bought salad dressing, make this easy recipe at home. Whisk together two parts olive oil, one-part balsamic vinegar, plus salt, pepper and sweetener to taste.
  • Low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock and cooking spray. Replace butter and oil in dishes where you would normally pan fry or sauté. The cooking spray helps prevent sticking and the stock adds a nice rich flavor, especially when reduced.
  • Sodium-free herbs and spices. Add flavor with herbs and spices, instead of using salt, sugar, and fat. Try garlic powder, pepper flakes and lemon pepper to add a punch to savory dishes. Try reducing the sugar in recipes by half, and add a little vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg to keep your desserts in balance.
  • Sugar-free applesauce. Replace half the butter or shortening called for in baked goods with applesauce to cut the fat and add fiber and vitamins. It’s also a nice alternative to syrup.
  • Whole grain products. Whole grains offer more fiber, B vitamins and minerals than their white, processed counterparts. These nutrients can help with weight loss and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

Ditch the Fryer, Not the Flavor

Instead of frying food in loads of oil, grab your healthy seasonings and give these cooking techniques a try:

  • Brown the exterior of meat in a tablespoon or two of oil, then finish cooking with a small amount of water or stock, then cover the pot to finish cooking.
  • Grill or broil. In both cases, you reduce fat intake because the meat rests on a grill or grate, so fat can drip away.
  • Steamers come in stove-top, microwave and electric varieties. Food rests in a perforated basket over steaming liquid (stock works great here) − no fat required.

Need Help with Diabetes Management?

Highly-trained endocrinologists and diabetes specialists throughout the Steward Health Care system can help you with the challenges of diabetes management.

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.