JanOne with a Difference: Christmas Menu Ideas for Diabetics
How does it feel to be a diabetic at the Christmas table?
Depending on how you manage your diabetes and how strict your daily regime is, it could be a time of over-indulgence and regret, a time of reflection or to fight feelings of missing out, or a time to practice self-control, a time to challenge willpower. Most diabetics don’t want to be singled out with a different choice to everyone else - the traditional and bland ‘diabetics version’ of Christmas roast and pudding! I’ve come up with some suggestions for keeping your Christmas meals light, nutritious, tasty, gourmet and kind on your blood sugar levels!
- Salads yummy salads – incorporate lots of greens into your festive meals! Greens help to balance blood sugar levels, stimulate the liver and are nutritious and tasty and SO refreshing! Play around with recipes using asparagus, sugar snap peas or beans as these are plentiful right now in the Southern Hemisphere!
- Colours – salads don’t have to always be green, right? Carrot, chickpea, quinoa, broccoli, rice – mix up your plate with the colours of the rainbow and your body will love you for it!
- Meat – if you’re going to eat meat, stay away from the fatty bits or skin.
- If you follow a plant based diet – remember to incorporate some plant protein to help balance blood sugars – chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts – there are some wonderful recipes available online or for members, through thelifeplan.
- Alcohol – not the best mix with diabetes but for those of you that will indulge in some bubbles or a few beers, remember that alcohol affects your blood sugars too! In particular if you overindulge in this area of your life, take preventative steps to ensure you don’t have a hypo (low) in the middle of the night. Check your blood sugars more regularly if you are going to be drinking so that you stay in control to avoid severe highs and lows.
- Pudding – try a plant-based raw cheesecake or torte using dates for sweetening. There are alternatives to sugar laden Pavlova or trifle – available online or for members, through thelifeplan. These, whilst still causing blood sugar to rise, will be gentler than a refined sugar spike. Dates, apricots, stevia also don’t have the same side effects either. Monitor your blood sugar and count carbohydrates responsibly for appropriate insulin administration.
- Roast veggies – enjoy them and savour them as a treat. Remember to pile your plate high with salad, not meat and potatoes!
- Most importantly, Christmas shouldn’t be a time when you feel deprived or depressed by the fact you have diabetes. I would like to encourage you to embrace the season but be responsible and kind to your body. These days there are a plethora of recipes available online or try adapting recipes using dried fruit sweeteners like dates, apricots or raisins or healthier alternatives to refined sugar (such as stevia).
- My 7 year old daughter finds Christmas day challenging and it’s a difficult time with lots of ‘no darling, it’s not good for you, it’ll make your blood sugars go CRAZY’ – around her, friends and family enjoy fizzy drinks, double serves of pudding, chocolates by the bucket load but hopefully someday she’ll thank me for encouraging her to find better alternatives and serving her body and organs by being kinder to her blood sugar levels and insulin requirements.
The best way I can think of to cater for diabetic family and friends is to make them feel a part of it all by having food available for everyone (not just them as that singles them out) that reeks of love and nutrition!