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A Quick Diabetes & Christmas Handbook: foods to avoid & replace

by Elad Guberman on November 30, 2022
Last year, Diabetes Ireland compiled a 'handbook' of festive foods to avoid if you are living with diabetes, and suitable replacements to ensure that you don't have to miss out!
Top tips included:
  • Not drinking on an empty stomach as this can lower BGL the next morning
  • Avoiding turkey skin as this is high in fat
  • Roast potatoes whole - as the smaller they are, the more fat they absorb
Check the full guide HERE

Here's a quick diabetes and Christmas handbook highlighting foods to avoid and suitable replacements to help manage your blood sugar levels during the holiday season:

1. Eggnog: Avoid: Traditional eggnog is rich in sugar and saturated fats. Replace: Opt for a lower-sugar or sugar-free version of eggnog, or make your own using a sugar substitute and low-fat or almond milk.

2. Sugary Drinks: Avoid: Sugary sodas, fruit juices, and punch. Replace: Choose water, sparkling water, or unsweetened herbal teas to stay hydrated without the added sugar.

3. White Bread/Rolls: Avoid: Highly processed white bread or rolls. Replace: Opt for whole-grain or whole-wheat varieties, which have a lower glycemic index and provide more fiber.

4. Stuffing: Avoid: Traditional stuffing made with white bread and high-sugar ingredients. Replace: Prepare stuffing using whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, and add plenty of vegetables, herbs, and lean protein.

5. Candied Yams: Avoid: Sweet potato dishes loaded with marshmallows and brown sugar. Replace: Roast sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon for natural sweetness.

6. Sugary Cranberry Sauce: Avoid: Canned cranberry sauce with added sugars. Replace: Make your own cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries and a sugar substitute or a small amount of natural sweetener.

7. Glazed Ham with Sugary Sauces: Avoid: Ham with sweet glazes or sugary sauces. Replace: Choose lean, unglazed ham or turkey as your main protein source and season with herbs and spices for flavor.

8. Gravy: Avoid: Store-bought gravy mixes high in sodium and often containing added sugars. Replace: Make homemade gravy using low-sodium broth and whole-wheat flour for thickening.

9. Creamy Casseroles: Avoid: Casseroles loaded with cream, cheese, and butter. Replace: Prepare casseroles with lower-fat dairy options or use Greek yogurt for creaminess and flavor.

10. High-Sugar Desserts: Avoid: Traditional high-sugar desserts like pecan pie, fruitcake, or sugary cookies. Replace: Choose diabetes-friendly desserts like sugar-free or low-sugar pies, fresh fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or dark chocolate with nuts.

11. Excessive Alcohol: Avoid: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. Replace: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and consider alternatives like light beer or wine with lower sugar content.

12. Mindful Portions: Remember: Even when replacing certain foods, it's essential to be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overindulgence.

By making these food swaps and staying mindful of your portions, you can enjoy a festive and delicious Christmas while managing your diabetes effectively. Always consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian for personalised guidance on managing your specific dietary needs.

Remember, it's important to personalise your routine based on your specific needs and consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for individualised advice on managing diabetes.
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