The holidays can derail even the most health-conscious.
But for newly-diagnosed diabetics aiming to reverse their diabetes naturally, the approaching season may feel more daunting than ever.
Michael Smith, ND, shares five tips to help people with diabetes and others who are health-conscious navigate the holidays.
1. The holidays offer an opportunity to be transparent about a recent lifestyle change.
“Whether it’s due to a recent diagnosis, or you’re simply ready to take back your health, this is a great time to share what you’re doing with your friends and family,” said Dr. Smith. “There’s always a chance you can be the spark that encourages your loved one to make positive health changes in his or her life.”
2. Plan ahead, and talk to the host.
Avoid potential embarrassment or feeling rude by speaking with the host prior to the event. Simply disclose food restrictions and offer to bring a dish that everyone can enjoy.
3. Fill your plate with vegetables, protein and fat.
Swap crackers for vegetables and pair them with a guacamole or cream-based dip. Turkey and most vegetable side dishes are fine. Avoid sugar-covered sweet potatoes – or offer to bring a healthy version of the dish.
When it comes to dessert, try offering something new for everyone to try.
“Fat bomb desserts are delicious and can help to curb cravings,” said Dr. Smith. “There are a lot of great recipes online, from cheesecake to coconut and cacao.”
If sugary drinks are the norm, bring some sparkling water and fresh lemon and lime slices, he added.
4. Eat before attending.
“If you know it’s an event where you’ll have few food choices, simply eat before you go,” said Dr. Smith. “It’s a lot harder to make good choices when you’re hungry.”
5. Plan non-food related activities.
For those who are hosting, plan fun events, like charades or trivia, that don’t involve food.
“It can be too easy to eat mindlessly over the holidays, but by staying mindful, preparing and keeping your goals in mind, it’s possible to stay on track,” said Dr. Smith. “Remember, the best gift you can give to your loved ones is the gift of your health. If you keep that in mind, it makes passing up the cookie plate a lot easier.”