Women’s diabetes can make mealtimes stressful, especially during the holidays. In true American nature, holiday gatherings usually revolve around the butteriest, sugariest, and most delicious dishes. “Ignorance is bliss” is the mentality young people take when it comes to dictating their holiday diets – it’s not until you start making the dishes yourself that you realize how much sugar really fits into that slice of pumpkin pie. Diabetics are hyper-aware of the ingredients, sugar levels, and calories in their favorite holiday dishes, but putting them on the x-list is just as heartbreaking!
Though it may seem that this year is changing the holiday season for the worse, it may have some benefits when it comes to women’s diabetes! Virtual “gatherings” can help you to overcome some of the most difficult parts of a non-diabetic-friendly meal and allow you to whip a meal that suits your taste buds and your nutritional needs.
2020’s Holiday Season: Unexpected Benefits
We won’t mince words – the holidays aren’t going to be easy-breezy this year. After months of social distancing, holiday gatherings seem like just what we need to bring normalcy and community back into our lives. This holiday season will be different and difficult at times, but it might also take away some of the stress of holiday meals for women with diabetes.
Many families are doing drop-off dinners to share dishes with nearby friends and family and enjoying their shared meals over video chat. While the social piece, and arguably the greatest piece of the holidays might be a little different, you can enjoy the same foods in smaller portions. It’s extremely difficult to portion control when you have the whole pie in front of you, but splitting that same pie among different households can take away a bit of the temptation without sacrificing the tradition of cooking it. *try baking something with a loved one over Zoom for the next best thing to being in the kitchen together again
Eating together while apart also gives you more flexibility to eat at the right time of day. No more worrying about the turkey not being done on time or having to make your insulin schedule fit everyone else’s dinner time.
More personal time in the kitchen can also help you to create a more healthful dinner spread that fulfills your holiday cravings without the side effects. We’ll share more on that below!
We know that this season is especially difficult for diabetics, and losing the social aspect of the holidays can make it even harder. We’re all in the same boat, and we all deserve a celebration that nourishes our bodies and spirits!
Diabetic Friendly and DELICIOUS Holiday Dishes
Women’s diabetes is tricky! Now that you have the kitchen all to yourself, you can experiment and add your own twist to Thanksgiving staples. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or for someone you love, you can make these diabetic-friendly dishes that are baked with a little extra care as they take your individual health and tastes into consideration.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast: Turkey can still be diabetic-friendly! All you have to do differently is use olive oil and fresh herbs under the turkey skin so that as it bakes, you lock in all the juiciness and flavor and can get rid of the fatty skin before you dig in.
Balsamic-Glazed Salmon: If turkey has always been more of a tradition than a taste preference for you, there has never been a better time to replace it. Try this lean, savory salmon recipe as your new table centerpiece!
Sides and Snacks:
Pumpkin and Pomegranate Salad: These are two of my favorite fall superfoods and together, they make an unexpectedly perfect pairing! Pumpkin is a great choice for diabetics and can even be used as a healthier alternative to sweet potatoes! Just make sure to save the seeds for the below recipe!
Cauliflower stuffing: You probably already know about the versatility of cauliflower in everything from “steaks” to pizza crust, but did you know that you can make a delicious, carb-free Thanksgiving stuffing out of this hearty veg?! According to this map, I am on par with the rest of my state in thinking that stuffing is the best holiday side dish, even without the bread!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Walnuts: Get all the pumpkin spice goodness and amazing benefits of pumpkin seeds in one bite! Pumpkin seeds are rich in plant sterols, which may reduce LDL cholesterol. Plus, they’re delicious, addicting, and so versatile to whatever your taste buds desire.
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips: If you’re not already privy to parsnips, this holiday season is the perfect time to try! Roasting these two “cousin” vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and buttery soft texture when done just right. You won’t miss your marshmallow sweet potato pie!
Pumpkin Ricotta Pudding: If pumpkin pie and creme brulee had a baby. This is what you’d get! This creamy, light and decadent pumpkin pudding is light on sugar and high in flavor. It’s also easy to portion!
Tiramisu Bites: Tiramisu is an unbeatable combination; it’s light yet flavorful and definitely satisfying. These little tiramisu bites do it all!
We know you already know the rules of thumb for navigating women’s diabetes and holiday diets. This year, despite all the changes, you can prioritize your health and taste buds by getting a little more creative in the kitchen. That way the next time you gather with your family at the dinner table, you share a meal that everyone can enjoy.