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South Texas Living

Healthy Living: Healthy holiday tips for diabetics

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December 12, 2012 | 2,011 views | Post a comment

At Connally Memorial Home Health, it is our goal to make sure that our patients have all of the comforts they need to live a normal, full life by providing the knowledge and medical care that they need to manage their illness in the comfort of their own home. One of the most common illnesses that we face in our country is diabetes. The 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet showed that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.

Diabetic living may present an exceptional challenge during the holidays, but one that can be overcome. Favorite family recipes might need tweaking to alter the calorie and carbohydrate count. Don’t throw caution to the wind and binge on holiday feasts; as a diabetic, only you will pay the health consequences for that.

Here are some cooking tips for a healthy enjoyable holiday.

•Prepare ahead of time by reviewing your holiday schedule. You can purchase and cook some of the food for parties and gatherings ahead of time. Planning your diabetic menu and grocery list will ensure that you have the ingredients that you need to cook your healthy meal.

•Experiment in advance if you are trying to substitute ingredients in an old family recipe. Substitutions can change the flavor of your dish -- better to know that before the big holiday event. Try recipes that will require only one or two substitutions. If you are trying to substitute too many ingredients, the food choice may not be a healthy one anyway.

•Skip the heavy creams and make your own diabetic-friendly cream for desserts. Some heavy cream toppings for pies have up to 420 calories per serving. Try blending a low-fat ricotta cheese until smooth, then adding some plain no-fat or low-fat yogurt to make a lower fat, lower calorie version of cream.

•Broil, bake, grill, or steam meats. Avoid deep-frying methods and basting, which can trap the fats within the meat and increase the calorie count. Cook that holiday turkey in an oven bag, which is self-basting, using the natural juices of the meat as opposed to cups of butter.

•Know your diabetic substitutions. Use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of whole eggs to reduce overall fat and cholesterol in the food. Breads, cakes, and cookies can be made with egg whites and retain flavor. Use a sugar substitute as opposed to the real deal and alcohol extracts instead of whole grain alcohols in cooking.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, Connally Memorial Home Health offers a free diabetic education class every third Tuesday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon, where you can learn beneficial dietary and nutritional information. For information or to register for this class, call 830-393-1540.

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