Healthy holiday eating

For many people, the Christmas season is a time of abundant dinner parties, family gatherings with traditional foods and special desserts, and gifts of speciality foods.

There also tends to be more emphasis on social drinking than usual due to the celebrations at Christmas or the New Year. While many enjoy these activities, people can still meet their health goals as well with a little extra planning ahead.

The following tips can assist everyone who wants to prevent weight gain and eat healthfully at Christmastime, but especially those living with diabetes and other related conditions, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol:

Make it a goal to practice portion control as a rule.

Eat a small, low-calorie snack before going to a party or large dinner to prevent overeating, especially if the food is served later than you normally eat.

Fill up more on fresh vegetables, fruit, low-fat crackers, and low fat dips/cheeses at parties instead of nuts, cookies, chips, cheeses, dip, and pastry-based hors d’oeuvres.

Prepare traditional dishes with less sugar, fat, and sodium by practicing healthy recipe substitution.

Bring your own healthy dish to the party or dinner to share with everyone.

Treat yourself to small amounts of those traditional holiday foods that you really want and don’t eat often.

If you have dessert or sweets, have a small portion after your meal or snack.

Continue your exercise program and even increase your exercise time if you have been indulging frequently in higher calorie foods over the season.

Drink lots of water to keep hydrated and to take the edge off your appetite. Keeping sipping throughout the day even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty.

Try to eat as closely to your normal schedule as possible to keep blood sugars stable.

If you choose to drink alcohol, drink with or after a meal or snack. Also, remember that alcohol is high in calories. Men: Limit intake to 2 units of alcohol (1 beer, 4 oz. wine, dry sherry, or spirits with diet mixers) Women: Limit intake to 1 unit of alcohol

Candied Yams

Number of servings: 9

Serving Size: ½ cup


4 medium yams 4 each

¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves

1 Granny Smith apple,

peeled thinly sliced

3/4 cup apple cider

2 tbsp stick margarine, cut into pea-size pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8X8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the yams on a baking sheet and bake until skin feels soft to the touch, 60 minutes. Cool, peel, and slice into 1/8-1/4 inch rounds.

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

In the baking dish, place half of the yams, then the apple slices, then half of the sugar mixture. Top with the remaining yams and sugar mixture. Pour the cider around the edges of the baking dish. Evenly scatter the margarine pieces on top.

Bake covered, until bubbly and the yams are tender, about 40 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving:

Calories 174

Total fat 3 g

Cholesterol 0g

Sodium 39 mg

Total Carb. 37 g

Dietary Fiber 4 g

Sugars 11g

Protein1g Diabetes Association)

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