Christmas can be a stressful time for diabetics. While most people indulge in Christmas cookies, sugary Christmas cocktails and decadent holiday treats, diabetics are often limited by their diets. However, just because you’re a diabetic doesn’t mean you must abstain from all Christmas goodies. By making some substitutions, monitoring blood glucose levels and engaging in some light after-dinner exercise, diabetics can usually enjoy many of the same holiday foods as non-diabetics.
Diabetics: Controlled Christmas Eating and Exercise
At Christmas, diabetics can enjoy many of the same foods as non-diabetics if they maintain good control of their blood glucose levels and understand how to incorporate seasonal foods into their normal meal plans.
To enjoy sweet Christmas treats, diabetics can typically substitute small portions of sweet foods for carbohydrate foods in their diabetic meal plans. If you have any questions about substituting food on your meal plan, consult your doctor or a dietician.
Also, remember that light exercise, either before or after a meal, can help a diabetic control blood sugar.
Diabetic Diet and Sugar Substitutes
When baking Christmas cookies for diabetics, consider using a sugar substitute, such as Splenda, in place of sugar. However, baking with sugar substitutes can cause digestive problems in some people. To minimize digestive complaints, eat food baked with sugar substitutes in small quantities.
Christmas Snacks for Diabetics
To make Christmas more enjoyable for everyone,keep a selection of healthy, diabetic-friendly Christmas snacks on hand during the holiday season. Many diabetic-friendly snacks are also healthy snacks that can help prevent (or at least minimize) weight gain over the holidays. Here’s a list of some diabetic snacks you can serve over the holidays:
- cut vegetables served with salsa
- dried fruit
- low-fat cheese cubes
- seasonal fruits
- sugar-free pudding or gelatin
- whole-grain breadsticks.
Christmas Recipes for Diabetics
The following Christmas recipes are sure to be a hit with both diabetics and non-diabetics.
Holiday Fruit Squares
(adapted from Christmas Fruit Squares from diabetic-lifestyles.com)
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar substitute
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup dried, no-sugar-added cherries
- 1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup dried figs, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp pineapple juice
- butter-flavored cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 ?F.
- Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray the paper lightly with the butter-flavored cooking spray.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar substitute and walnuts together in a large bowl.
- In a second bowl mix the raisins, cherries, apple and figs.
- Add the fruit to the flour mixture. Mix well to separate the fruit and coat all the fruit with the flour mix.
- Beat the egg, egg white, oil, orange juice and pineapple juice together and add to the flour and fruit, stirring until the mixture is evenly moist.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down so it forms an even surface.
- Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- Cut into 25 squares and allow to cool completely.
One serving equals two squares and is a diabetic exchange for one carbohydrate (fruit) and one fat.
Diabetic-Friendly No-Crust Pumpkin Pie
(adapted from Pumpkin Cookie Bars from diabetic-lifestyle.com)
- cooking spray
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp non-fat dry milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 16-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup one-to-one white sugar substitute
- Preheat oven to 350 ?F.
- Spray a 13-by-9-inch pan with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix egg whites, egg substitute, sugar substitute, dry milk, canola oil and pumpkin for approximately two minutes.
- Stir in the currants.
- In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Sift the mixture over the wet ingredients and fold into the mix.
- Pour batter into sprayed pan and bake 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Cut into 36 pieces.
One bar equals one serving and counts as 1/2 a carbohydrate (bread/starch) on a diabetic exchange.
(Adapted from Chicken Kabob Dippers from the American Diabetes Association)
- 4 small boneless chicken halves cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 wooden skewers soaked in water
- 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped into chunks
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped into chunks
- 1 medium red onion, chopped into chunks
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced in half
- 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce
- Skewer the chicken, alternating it with the vegetables, and dividing it evenly among the skewers.
- Grill three to four minutes on each side, either on a barbeque or under a medium-high grill. Chicken should be cooked and the vegetables crisp but tender.
- Mix the mayonnaise and barbeque sauce together. Serve as a dipping sauce for the kabobs.
One serving equals one skewer and counts as one vegetable, two meat (VL) and one fat on a diabetic exchange.