November: A Time for Holiday Dinners and Diabetes Discussions

A Chronic Health Wisdom Blog
November 17, 2023 by
Cheri Sacks RN, CDCES

When I think of November, I usually think of the magic of the fall, the chill in the air, and seeing the last colorful leaves dancing in the wind. It's also the start of the holiday season, bringing family together, turkey memes, and the reminder to be thankful. As if that isn't enough, it's American Diabetes Month®, a time to raise awareness about diabetes and its impact on millions of people. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reminds us this is a time to rally against the diabetes epidemic while supporting our loved ones living with diabetes. 

To some, this combination seems like a cruel joke! Sticking to healthy eating habits during the holiday can be tough. But what if your caring neighbor, Cheri the nurse, showed you ten ways to merge your holiday plans and diabetes discussions together? Would you be tempted to share timely tips and support your loved ones? With a balanced perspective, a little self-care, and encouragement from those we spend time with, we all can have a healthy holiday. 

Chronic Health Wisdom- Healthy Choices for People With Diabetes

1. Balance is Key

Think about what food you really want to eat. Skip the food that only reaches 60% on your favorite foods scale. The secret is balancing high-calorie, high-fat foods with lower-calorie veggies or healthy soups. If someone asks why you skipped a dish, remind them you’re doing your part to rally against diabetes!


2. Create Less Work

Make one less starchy dish for the meal. What's the one dish that is always the unplanned leftover? Skip it this year! No one will think less of the celebration if you have only one stuffing or potato dish. Bonus: Remind everyone how easy it will be to put things away if you don't need to play the balancing towers game in the refrigerator! This helps to decrease holiday stress and leftover-food-falling-on-your-foot injuries! 

Less Starch- chronic health wisdom tip.

3. Try New Recipes

Experiment with new healthy and tasty recipes. They exist! You can find recipes online that cater to different diets and preferences. My no-cook, go-to dish for potlucks is caprese skewers! 


Caprese Skewers

Cherry tomatoes cut in half, small fresh mozzarella balls cut in halves or thirds, fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste, balsamic vinegar glaze on the side, and some toothpicks.  Slide the food together on a toothpick in whatever way brings you joy! Alternatively, making caprese garland can be a family activity while discussing your favorite way to lower your risk for diabetes (like eating foods on the Mediterranean diet).

4. Portion Control

Consider naturally portioned dishes, like the skewers. You can also make portion-controlled dessert bites. Think cake pops but with holiday flavors. Cut a pie into pieces and put them in small festive cupcake wrappers, cover with light whipped cream, and it will look picture perfect. One bite may satisfy your dessert cravings and help you share in the sweetness of the holiday. One piece isn’t enough; maybe three is? It could still be a smaller portion than a full slice of pie, and think of the money you can save by splitting one pie between ten people!

Consider naturally portioned dishes.

5. Delicious Decorations

A plate of fresh berries with a very small sprinkling of powdered sugar can be a pretty and edible table decor. This gives you the opportunity to remind people of the health benefits of fresh berries. Berries are higher in fiber than many fruits and low on the glycemic index scale. They may also prevent blood glucose spikes. This conversation can lead to a deep discussion on the importance of antioxidants and vitamins when living with diabetes!

Fresh Berries and powdered sugar are a healthier choice for a dessert.

6. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water will help you feel full and avoid overeating. Try infused water with fresh fruits and herbs for a refreshing twist. Remember, living with diabetes is a balancing act. Water helps decrease your beverage calorie intake! This tip gives you extra credibility as a pro at mastering diabetes and knowing how to make the calories count.


7. Plan An Outdoor Activity

Hiking, biking, or playing a sport is great, but so is going for a short walk or opening the door to get a breath of cool air. Don’t underestimate the power of just a few steps and smelling the fresh air. This will help you burn off those extra calories, reduce stress, and be noticed for doing something to help lower blood glucose!


8. Be Mindful

Encourage your family and friends to be mindful of what they're eating. Take the time to savor each bite, and enjoy the different flavors and textures. Talk about what you're eating, and what makes the dish delicious. 

9. Spread Out The Flavors

Most dishes are great as leftovers, so leave some for another meal! Give yourself permission to enjoy the deliciousness another day.  

10. Don’t Forget to Laugh

Having fun brings out the happiness chemicals that your body naturally makes. Bringing out your bliss lowers stress and balances all our body systems. 


I hope these tips help you enjoy your holidays and don’t forget to raise awareness about diabetes. 

Bring out your bliss, 


Reach Out With Questions- Chronic Health Wisdom is Here to Help

Cheri Sacks RN, CDCES November 17, 2023
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