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Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating Blog

Holiday Eating tips for those with Diabetes



Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Rene Ficek, has some holiday eating tips for people with diabetes. These tips are good anytime of the year, but especially true during the holidays when food takes center stage at many events. These tips are also applicable to those without diabetes, anyone wanting to keep  their weight and health in check.

Remember,  the  holidays are about enjoying time with family and friends...enjoy! 

I wish you and yours a  healthy  and  happy  Thanksgiving!  

* * *  

November is National Diabetes Month, and it also happens to be the start of the holiday season. While it’s a cheerful time to celebrate with friends, family, and loved ones, the holidays can wreak havoc on blood sugars and waistlines. But it doesn’t have to. In fact, with a little know how, the “food coma” doesn’t have to be induced after your holiday feasts this year. With these healthy eating tips and a few food swaps here and there you can keep your blood sugar in check and avoid packing on additional pounds.  

Eat Breakfast! --  As anyone who's tried to eat sensibly knows, starving yourself now will just have you eating much more, later. To combat the urge to fill your Thanksgiving plate over and over again, make sure to eat breakfast that morning. In addition to keeping your holiday feast binge-free, eating breakfast will keep your energy level high if you're responsible for getting dinner to the table. Choose a sensible breakfast with protein and fiber so you're not too ravenous by the time the turkey hits the table.  

Follow the Diabetes plate method --  Fill up half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, fruit and a whole-wheat roll, a quarter of it with a starch like mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with lean protein such as turkey or ham. And, the more colorful your plate, the better – so add lots of leafy greens, carrots, and bell peppers to the vegetable mix. Filling up on the lower calorie dense foods ensures a sense of fullness, but doesn’t add to the feeling of being bloated or tired after your meal. The mix of food can really help balance blood sugars throughout the day.   

Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating --  Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you'll lower the risk of overeating. Plus, it's a great idea to take a walk after eating. This can really help to control those after meal blood sugar spikes. And if you couldn’t stop yourself it’s okay. Try not to let the guilt fester and add some exercise to your holiday by playing football or taking a walk with the family. And always remember that the next day is a new day- don’t let it be a downward spiral!   

Food Swaps --  One of the factors making blood sugar control difficult this holiday is the amount of fat in the typical Thanksgiving meal. Most often, people with diabetes are concerned with carbohydrates, and rightfully so. But loading up on fat instead of carbohydrates may have a longer lasting impact on blood sugar. Meals high in fat can keep blood sugar elevated over the course of many hours, which is more harmful than a sudden rise and drop and blood sugar. So it is important to make some simple food swaps that will reduce fat, carbohydrates, and overall calories. Simple food swaps include vegetables and bean dip rather than chips and cream based dip, salad with dressing on the side instead of green bean casserole, turkey breast or pork loin instead of high fat meat like prime rib or dark meat turkey, cranberry sauce instead of gravy, and a fruit based dessert instead of cream puffs or pies.   

Bring your own dish to every party --  As a dietitian and healthy eater, I always make sure to bring a healthy appetizer or side dish to a party. That way, I know what ingredients I used and am comforted knowing that it is truly a healthy dish. It’s always a good idea to keep a list of some of your favorite dishes that travel well and you feel comfortable enough cooking to whip them up quickly. Additionally, your hosts and fellow party mates will be grateful for a light and healthy dish to balance out the meal.  

Reduce stress with music --  The holidays are loaded with stress, so lighten your load of stress by listening to soothing music. It can immediately reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Less stress leads to less cortisol- making it easier to avoid the holiday weight gain.

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Recent Comments

  • Jan Wilke  - 11/12/2014 8:14:35 AM

    What a wonderful opportunity for all of you. Congratulations on being chosen and having the chance to experience renewed vitality not to mention the delicious and freshly prepared meals !!! It changed my life in ways that I never imagined. Best of luck to all of you :)


  • Jan Wilke  - 10/30/2014 10:19:42 AM

    These are great ideas for Halloween and all sorts of other times. I will be referring back to these great ideas frequently !!! Thank you :)


  • Maria Ogierman   - 10/19/2014 12:05:44 AM

    I am interested!


  • Kris Husser  - 10/18/2014 8:19:01 PM

    I watched you tonight on WGN "Stories of Hope". I want to let you know that you did a fabulous job!  I know Rene personally and she gave an excellent presentation of the healthy foods to eat to help fight breast cancer.  I am a 7 year survivor and truly enjoyed watching you Seattle and Rene on WGN tonight!


  • Jan Wilke  - 10/10/2014 8:11:49 AM

    I enjoyed the Twitter chat so much :) Thank you for doing it !!! The time went by so quickly :) I hope you will do it again sometime. Thank you again :)


  • Mark Saxenmeyer  - 10/7/2014 11:26:48 PM

    I've lost six pounds during my first week on the 2,000 calorie plan. The food is delicious. Thoroughly impressed, Seattle!


  • Jan Wilke  - 9/24/2014 7:02:20 AM

    Thanks for posting this great information about Potassium and Stroke Prevention. I had no idea that Spinach has twice the amount of Potassium as Bananas.


  • Donna T  - 8/29/2014 4:05:45 PM

    Seattle Sutton, you and the late Dr Kelly Sutton have raised a wonderful and successful family.  Be Proud!


  • Karyn  - 8/24/2014 6:55:41 PM

    I just had to give serious kudos to Mike Chinte, one of the SSHE reps. He has gone above and beyond, taking service to the next level. He is a kind and generous man who has proven his professionalism and helpfulness time and time again. I just can't thank him enough! I wouldn't be surprised if he was running SSHE some day! Amazing man!!


  • Jan Wilke  - 7/30/2014 8:31:05 AM

    I loved reading your book and I am so grateful for the technology available today that allows me to read your blog posts. So much wisdom in this one. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I am one of your biggest fans, well not physically any more {{{ thank you }}} but in heart I am !!! :)


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