Diabetes Blogs

It's Not the Food, It's the Company

Multi-Generation African American Family Prepping a MealTry to resist the urge to use the celebration of the holidays as an excuse to over indulge. Follow my two-bite rule to enjoy the food you love without the guilt or the blood sugar spike!

Some people define “The Holidays” as Christmas/Chanukah through New Years. Others believe the holidays start at Thanksgiving.  I used to think that the holidays began at Halloween.  

We were all wrong. 

The holidays begin each year when the Halloween candy hits the supermarket shelves. Right after Labor Day. And do they end at New Years? Noooooo! That’s because before you know it, here comes Easter and/or Passover. All of the above have traditions and those traditions often revolve around food.  So we’re talking September through April. We are totally screwed.

So in self-defense, I’ve compiled some favorite ideas, hints, and recommendations for surviving the holidays this year without completely blowing it. Some of these may ring a bell from having appeared in this space before, but in case you haven’t committed my pearls of wisdom to memory, read on…

Shift Your Focus From Food to Family and Friends

I am a firm believer that any time of the year—but particularly at holiday-time—there’s nothing more important than family and friends. And, as we know, these gatherings generally involve our favorite food...delicious, comforting, calorie-laden, non-diabetic-friendly food. So try to remember that celebrating is not an excuse for over-indulging. Remember my favorite mantra…it’s not the food, it’s the company! By the way, I’ve used that thought on so many occasions, many of my friends, family and colleagues are now quoting it to me!  I love it!

Whether you’re preparing a dish for a pot luck, or hosting your own holiday feast, quietly alter a few dishes to make them a little less lethal.  For example, trade full-fat sour cream for fat-free or, as I do when I’m seeking nomination for sainthood, just replace it with non-fat plain yogurt.  I swear, nobody will know the difference! It’s just when you get asked for that delicious crab bisque recipe, you’ll have to decide if you want to reveal your secret!

 Choose carefully when you’re preparing your leftovers.  So if you have leftover turkey (and honestly, who doesn’t?), you might consider making turkey enchiladas. Find the low-cal, low-carb tortillas for your dish. Personally, I choose X-Treme Wellness. Fifty calories each, six net carbs. Actually quite good (they left the cardboard out of their recipe!).  That way, your enjoyment of the tastiest dishes can go on for days without guilt!

Socialize as much as possible, but please, don’t go to a party hungry! Doing so is a recipe for disaster, destroying anything resembling willpower when you walk through the door. Have a little bite of something healthy before you leave home. You’ll be glad you did.

Put a little of whatever you want on your plate…and I mean little, like maybe a tablespoonful.  Eat slowly, savor each bite (be sure to ooh and aah for the hostess!). You’ll be surprised at how much more you enjoy the meal without making multiple trips back to the buffet.

Remember the two-bite rule.  Oh come on, you should know this one by heart!  If the best bite of a treat is the first bite, and the next-best bite is the last bite, then two bites oughta do it!  And, two bites won’t kill you! That way, you won’t feel deprived and you’ll feel pretty proud of yourself. Your scale and your glucose monitor will thank you.

And finally, watch the alcohol. It not only messes with our blood sugar, but it adds empty calories and clouds our judgment when it comes to making smart choices. You can have a great time nursing a glass of wine or doing without it altogether.

Just remember to have a wonderful time with family and friends. They want you to be healthy and happy so that you can be around a long, long time. Trust me.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  Stay well.  See you next time! 


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