Have a sweet holiday with diabetes

By Tommie M. James - Guest columnist

It is the season of holiday festivities, rich foods and hearty meals. If you have diabetes the temptation to indulge is within reach. By planning ahead you don’t have to wish you were taking part in the festivities, you can.

Tommie M. James, Family and Consumer Science, Extension Educator, said having diabetes does not mean you have to give up your favorite seasonal foods.

“If people who have diabetes eat in moderation, they can enjoy the foods of the season,” James said. “The key is to plan ahead and know your limits.”

James offers these tips for holiday meals for diabetics:

• Make a list of must have foods – a piece of cake or Grandma’s pecan pie – and figure out how to include them in your eating plan.

• Think of your typical holiday meal, ask the host what is going to be on the menu and plan ahead for what you are going to eat.

• Use a smaller plate. Watch your portion sizes.

• Say no to second helpings of food.

• Make healthy drink choices. Opt for water, tea or club soda instead of the higher calorie choices.

• Make exercise a priority, go out for a walk after the meal.

• Monitor blood sugar more often than usual.

“Enjoy sugary treats in moderation, but remember sweets aren’t the only foods that increase blood sugar levels,” James said. “Carbohydrates including those in fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, dairy and other starchy foods can raise blood sugar. Be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods – think about appropriate portion sizes and try to make lower fat and sugar choices.”

If you are hosting a holiday meal, be sure to plan ahead for someone who may have diabetes. James said to offer a variety of healthy and low calorie foods.

“Offer low-fat choices and try to use healthy recipes when preparing dishes,” she said. “Preparing a reduced calorie meal and offering healthier choices will give someone with diabetes at your festivities more opportunity to enjoy the foods around them. Plus healthy options will benefit everyone enjoying the meal.”

Here are some diabetic recipes you might want to try making.


1 purchased angel food cake

1 box (4-serving size) lemon instant sugar-free pudding

1/2 cup skim milk

1 (8 oz.) carton lemon-flavored fat-free, no-sugar-added yogurt

1/2 (8 oz.) carton “Lite” frozen whipped topping, thawed

1. Cut angel food cake in half, horizontally, using serrated knife in a sawing motion. Place bottom layer on serving plate.

2. Beat pudding with milk until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.

3. Fold thawed reduced-calories whipped topping into pudding mixture.

4. Frost bottom layer of cake with lemon mixture. You may then place top layer on cake and frost with remaining mixture, or make a second cake with remaining topping mixture. Chill until served. Garnish with thin strawberry, lemon, or kiwi slices.

Yield: 16 Medium servings or 24 small servings.

Note: Other flavors of pudding and/or yogurt could be used. Check label carefully to make sure the new flavor does not have more carbohydrate than the original flavors chosen for this recipe.

Nutrition information per serving:

143 calories; 2g total fat; 28g total carbohydrates, 3.6g protein; 317mg sodium.


Yield: 8 serving


12 ounce package broccoli slaw mix (about 5 cups)

1 medium apple, cut into matchstick-sized pieces

1/3 cup dark raisins

1/3 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds


1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. nonfat or light mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. sugar substitute or sugar

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar


1. Combine the broccoli, apple, raisins, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and toss to mix well.

2. Combine the dressing ingredients on a small bowl and stir to mix well. Add a little more mayonnaise if the salad seems too dry.

3. Cover the salad and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition information per 3/4-cup serving:

80 calories; 2.7g total fat, 0.3g saturated fat; 13g total carbohydrates, 2.2g protein; 0mg cholesterol; 186mg sodium, 2.7g fiber; 26mg calcium.

Diabetic exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 fruit, 1/2 fat.

For additional on nutrition and health awareness, you may contact Tommie M. James at the Bryan Co. OSU Cooperative Extension Office by calling 924-5312 or e-mail tommiem.james@okstate.edu. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or status as a veteran, and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tommie M. James is a Bryan County Family & Consumer Science Extension Educator.


By Tommie M. James

Guest columnist

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