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Stay Healthy Through the Holidays - Part Two (December Celebrations & Festivities)


You got through Thanksgiving. Now it's time to prepare for the rest of 2018.


Just like with Thanksgiving, the trick is to plan ahead for events and be very aware of what you are eating. Also, it is important not to let yourself get too Hungry, Anxious, Lonely or Tired so that when faced with sweets, cookies and other foods you will be able to make smart choices rather than eat mindlessly.


How can you stay healthy during the December holidays when faced with parties, lots of food, and more stress than usual?” Here are my top tips for getting through the season.


Be prepared: Before going to parties make sure to eat something so that you don’t arrive starving and dive into the appetizer tray. If you are pressed for time, try some hummus, there’s a simple and delicious recipe in Janet’s new cookbook, My Italian Kitchen (Homestyle Recipes Made Lighter & Healthier). Raw vegetables are another healthful option. So too is a bowl of legumes, try eating a bowl of hearty lentil soup, (Amy’s makes a great canned version that is quite tasty).


Bring something: If you are invited to someone’s home for dinner or a party, everyone appreciates an offer of a wonderful addition to their holiday table. I always bring one thing that I know I will be able to eat and that everyone else will really enjoy. It depends on the event. For dinners, I usually bring a vegetable dish like delicious brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and chestnuts -- or for a buffet I love to bring a beautiful array of grilled or roasted vegetables.


Take care of your sweet tooth: It’s the holidays and cookies, candies, pies and all manner of sweets are everywhere. It’s not easy, but with some strategies in place you can get through it without feeling deprived. First and foremost, go back to tip #1, and make sure you have eaten well the day of an event. That way your blood sugars won’t be all over the place and you will be less likely to be craving sweets. The best way to avoid eating desserts and snacks that are loaded with sugar is to have a sweet indulgence of your own that you can enjoy. For me that is a few pieces of dark chocolate, which I always carry in my purse for just such occasions. My favorite is a low-glycemic, cold pressed, dark chocolate from a company called Xocai. When faced with that tray of cookies at the office, or it is time for dessert at a party, I bring out my chocolate, have some tea or coffee and I am good to go. Maybe I will have a bite or two of whatever else is being offered, but with my own treat in hand, I don’t feel deprived, and I am much less likely to eat an amount that will wreak havoc on my blood sugars.


Another strategy if you are hosting, going to a party or sit down meal is to prepare a sugar-free dessert just for you, that you can enjoy fully without worrying about your blood sugars. For me that is a creamy “pudding” made with low-fat Ricotta and vanilla whey powder that is flavored with vanilla, cinnamon and Truvia. I enjoy my special treat with tea or coffee along with a very small "taste" of any other desserts.


If you want to make something everyone can share, you can always make a Sweet Potato or Pumpkin pie using a sugar alternative of your choice. Preparing a delicious fruit compote with whipped cream is another option that everyone will like. Or put out a beautiful cheese, nut, and fruit platter along other desserts. For a bit of sweetness, you can put some Fig Jam and some high quality dark chocolate on the side. Very European! There are actually lots of options for including dessert without including ingredients that will cause your blood sugars to soar.

Get enough rest and keep up your exercise: When you are tired, your body compensates and you begin to crave more carbohydrates, especially bread, cookies and sweets to keep your energy up. So make sure that you are treating your body well by giving it the rest it needs. Although we all feel time pressured during the holidays, now is not the time to give up your exercise routine. If you have to, pencil in exercise time on your calendar, like any other appointment. . You will have more energy for everything you have to do and avoid holiday remorse by staying on track


Enjoy Yourself!! The best advice I can give is to be gentle with yourself -- reach out for support when you need it, and enjoy everything the season has to offer.


Live It Up—Don’t Let Diabetes Get You Down!







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