With holidays approaching, it is important to have a game plan for managing your blood sugar while still enjoying special, holiday foods.
The first step is to remember which foods have the most effect on your blood sugar. Remember foods high in protein (think holiday turkey and ham) and fat (think olives, guacamole, and nuts) have little effect on your blood sugar and can be indulged in a little more freely. They add calories and will affect your waistline, but for blood sugar management, they are a good place to splurge. High carbohydrate foods like grain, fruit, milk, starchy vegetables, and sweets quickly affect your blood sugar and will need to be portioned more carefully.
The second step is to decide which high carb holiday foods you can eliminate without feeling deprived. If mashed potatoes are a food you frequently eat throughout the year, do you really want both mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing? Never really cared for cranberry sauce, but you eat it because it’s traditional? Maybe you’d rather splurge on a small piece of fudge.
The next step is to determine how to count the carbohydrates in the foods you’d like to indulge in. This is the best way to decide what portion size you can eat to stay within your carbohydrate budget. For example, your plan may call for 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. You may decide to spend those 60 grams on very small portions of several high carbohydrate foods. Or instead, you may eat turkey, tossed green salad, a variety of low carb veggies, and use all 60 grams of carbohydrates on a slice of pecan pie or eggnog!
Below are some estimated carbohydrate counts for a few traditional holiday foods:
Corn bread dressing – ½ cup = 20 grams
Mashed potatoes – ½ cup = 15 grams
Turkey Gravy- ½ cup = 8 grams
Candied yams – ½ cup = 60 grams
Green bean casserole – ½ cup = 10 grams
Cranberry sauce – ½ cup = 54 grams
Chocolate Fudge – ½ oz piece = 15 grams
Cheesecake with Cherry Topping – 1/12 of pie = 40 grams
Fruit cake – 1/36 of cake = 45 grams
Fruit Pie – 1/8 of pie = 60 grams
Pumpkin pie – 1/8 of pie = 40 grams
Pecan pie- 1/8 of pie = 60 grams
Eggnog – 1 cup = 35 grams
Finally, savor and enjoy the choices you make. Happy holidays!
For diabetes education, contact Mountain View Clinic for an appointment with Certified Diabetes Educator Beth Polo Beckel at 479-394-7301. Diabetes education is paid for by Medicare and most insurance companies. Don’t just assume you know how to control your diabetes. Talk with your health care team and find out how you can have your cake and eat it too.