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Living With Diabetes – Keeping The Holiday Season Healthy
A diabetes diagnosis doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying life – even during the holidays. With the right knowledge, skills and experience, people with diabetes can confidently manage their own disease, maintain good health and prevent complications. Sometimes, it can be as easy as a few lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise and sometimes it may mean adding or changing medication.
"Most people we see with diabetes want to take good care of themselves, but may not know how or where to start," says Cheryl Cummings, RN, CDE, and clinical coordinator for Diabetes Services and Community Education at Northwest Hospital.
Cummings says that at this time of year, discussions in the diabetes education classes she offers at the hospital often turns to the challenges that holiday parties, treats and eating out present for people with diabetes.
"High sugar and fat intake can wreak havoc with blood sugars and lipid levels," says Northwest Hospital dietician, Tricia Clement. "But there are still lots of ways to enjoy and participate fully in holiday festivities while still successfully managing your diabetes."
According to Clement, this includes lightening meals by modifying recipes and portion sizes, choosing alternatives to alcoholic beverages such as sparkling cider and using healthier foods and flavorings. "We give our patients a lot of suggestions for how to replace the fats, sugars and starches in holiday meals with healthy, diabetes-friendly ingredients that are just as delicious."
Sources of fat in holiday meals include:
Meat, gravy, sauce and butter
Dips, salad dressing, sour cream and toppings
Cheese, olives, nuts and crackers
Eggnog, cream in coffee and whipped toppings
Cookies, candy and desserts
Eating out more often than usual, especially fast food
Sources of sugars and starches in holiday meals include:
Candy, cookies, cake and pie
Fruit and gelatin salads
Bread and rolls
Stuffing, potatoes, yams and peas
"Substitutions don't have to be difficult or significantly change the flavor of favorite holiday foods," says Clement. Simple flavor boosters like sautéing in lemon or wine, using fresh herbs or using salsas, seasoned vinegars or mustards can make dishes healthy and appealing."
||Butter, cream, marshmallows
||Margarine, orange juice, chopped fruit and nuts
||Butter, milk or cream
||Light margarine, skim milk, broth, stock, roasted garlic
||Flavored oils, vinegar, lemon
||Butter, eggs; cooked inside the turkey
||Chopped vegetables, chicken or vegetable broth, fruit juice, dried fruit, chopped nuts; cooked separately
||Lard, butter or shortening; two- crust pies
||Omit one crust; use cereal or crushed low fat cookies for topping
||Cheese, mayonnaise, creamy dressings
||Oil and vinegar-based, or low-fat dressings
||Fatty meat drippings
||Remove fat from drippings or use low fat or vegetable broth with cornstarch to thicken
You can find more holiday meal planning ideas at the American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org.
The highly skilled staff and ADA-recognized diabetes education program at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center provide patients and their families with a variety of education options, ranging from classes to seminars to one-on-one counseling – all designed to encourage patients to take control of their health. "One of the most satisfying parts of my job is collaborating with patients, dieticians and physicians to help patients self-manage their diabetes. We make our classes and counseling informative, supportive and fun," says Cummings.
For more information about diabetes education and counseling opportunities at Northwest Hospital, visit the Northwest Hospital website at www.nwhospital.org, call 206-368-1564 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Physician referral is required to register for diabetes classes. Diabetes education is covered by most insurance plans.