Holiday Food Health Benefits

It is easy to dwell on how unhealthy our diets are during the holiday season with cookies, eggnog, and other fare. However, many traditional holiday foods contain hidden health benefits buried under the fat and sugar!

Sweet Potatoes

Benefits: Rich in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A

Bad Rep:Slathered in butter, sugar, and marshmallows

Better Prep: Roasted or baked with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.


Benefits: Contain folate, fiber, and vitamins C/A/E/K

Bad Rep: Prepared with fatty meats and often boiled for hours removing many nutrients.

Better Prep:  Blanch your veggies and then sauté them with olive oil, garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes for ~45 minutes until tender.


Benefits:High in antioxidants, vitamin C, and may help protect against UTI’s

Bad Rep:Cranberry cocktail juice and canned cranberry sauce do not deliver the same nutrition punch and have lots of added sugar.

Better Prep:Make your own cranberry sauce! Roughly chop cranberries. Combine with 3tbsp Truvia, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ¾c water. Heat for 25 minutes until berries pop.

Green Beans

Benefits:Low in calories and high in vitamins A/C/K, and iron

Bad Rep: Green bean casserole is covered in overly salty condensed soup.

Better Prep:Sautee or steam green beans. Toss with toasted nuts and olive oil.


Tips to Avoid the Holiday Bloat and Crazy Blood Sugars

  1. 80:20 Rule.
    1. Strive for weight or blood glucose maintenance during the holidays. Trying to improve either of these during this time will most likely just lead to headaches. Be smart about eating as you can 80% of times,
  2. Don’t skip meals!
    1. Eat healthy throughout the day up to the big event. Aim to include lean protein and fiber (fruit, vegetables, and whole grains) at meals and snacks to keep you full.
  3. Stay hydrated.
    1. Choose non-caloric beverages at big events and make sure to be drinking all day long.
    2. Having a big glass of water before dinner can lead you to eating a little less and preventing post-meal regret (and maybe tums too).
  4. Build your plate well.
    1. Survey the buffet before loading up to decide what you will choose to eat. Don’t feel obligated to try everything! Skip the boring sides.
    2. Load up on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables
    3. Turkey (preferably without the skin) is one of the leanest most protein-rich options.
    4. Protein helps you stay feeling full and slows the absorption of carbohydrates.
    5. Non-starchy veggies are very low in carbohydrates and full of flavor!
  1. Get active!!!
    1. Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day on regular days
    2. After the meal, get active (unless you have very high BG and ketones present)
    3. Being active will help your body use up the glucose better after your extra helping of dessert!
  1. Hosting the Party Tips
    1. Use to find out the total carbohydrates/serving of your favorite recipes.
    2. Ask guests to bring the nutrition facts label for the food to show support for your family member with type 1 diabetes.


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