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Chocolate cookies, fudge, cocktail parties, white-flour pastries… These are just a few of the many holiday delicacies that threaten each and every person that has been diagnosed with diabetes their first holiday season. Having diabetes does not mean that one has to completely eliminate all salty, sugary and starchy foods but during the holidays who has the willpower to stop eating these tempting foods when the festivities are still in motion.
Almost ten years ago, both of my grandparents were diagnosed with diabetes. It has a great impact that first holiday season seeing that my family is German-American and has no limits when it comes to food during the holidays. Since that first holiday season, my family has had to work hard in trying to eliminate those unneeded ingredients and use sugar substitutes when possible without eliminating the original flavor.
Tip #1: Reducing Sugar in Baked Goods
There are many sugar substitutions that can be used in not only baked goods but also on the beverage serving table. Please check out Tips for Baking with Sugar Substitutes. This article suggests all the best sugar substitutes that are on the market today. For instance, agave nectar can be used in exchange for honey or even white sugar. Agave nectar contains only effects the blood glucose level a minimalistic amount compared to traditional cooking sugar.
Tip #2: Reducing Alcoholic Beverages
Many people drink copious amounts of alcoholic beverages during the holidays. Alcohol is okay to drink and use in cooking however it can cause problems if not monitored closely. For instance, rum balls were quite popular in our household before diabetes came into play but have had to diminish in amounts being served. Diabetics can have alcohol however taking in alcohol can confuse a diabetic by thinking one is “drunk” with actually being low in glucose levels. It wise to stay away from margaritas, gin fizzes and other mixed drinks that are combined with flavored sugar syrups. As for baking alcohol filled desserts, try for partial alcohol and partial imitation extracts. The flavor is the same but the alcohol levels are much less.
Recommended reading: Best German Cookbooks
Tip #3: Reducing Milk
It is true that milk has many benefits from drinking it such as carbohydrates and proteins but diabetics should be aware of how much is consumed since it contains natural sugar. A person wisely told me once that a diabetic should, “chose your sugars wisely”. Therefore, although milk is beneficial it still does contain sugars, sugars that can add up fast during the holidays. My family prefers to use combination soy/rice milk. It is easy to use and can be directly substituted for regular cow milk; the taste does not change.
Tip #4: Reducing Fatty Oil
Again, eating foods that have either been cooked or baked in oils will not kill a diabetic however eating many items with high levels of oil will actually affect ones blood levels. Eating during the holidays should not have to be an annoyance but should be pleasurable. So, it is wise to stick to Trans Fat free cooking and baking oils such as using Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of canola or vegetable oils. Extra Virgin Olive oil can be used 100% in exchange for these other traditional oils and has no affect on the overall taste of the foods. (Here’s some olive oil dispensers you may like)
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