For Better Living


Keeping blood sugar normal during the holidays

The change in normal routines and the availability of holiday goodies can make this a difficult time of year for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels under control. With proper meal planning and attention to exercise, diabetic family members can enjoy traditional holiday meals with the rest of the family.

Diabetes is a fast growing, chronic disease that strikes anybody, including children. Diabetes is classified as either Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 diabetics can’t produce insulin, while Type 2 refers to those who can produce some insulin, but their body can’t use it properly. Type 2 is the most common form of the disease.

Foods are turned into glucose that the body uses for energy. The hormone, insulin, helps the body’s cells use glucose. In diabetics, glucose cannot reach the starved cells and builds up in the blood, causing complications that range from heart disease to high blood pressure and stroke.

Careful consideration of meal planning is one major way to combat diabetes during the holidays. By providing a variety of foods, limiting the amount of fats added to food and finding substitutions for high calorie desserts, diabetics can enjoy holiday eating along with the rest of the family.

There are ways to lower fat, sugar, and carbohydrate counts in your favorite foods while keeping the taste and texture. Try using fat-free and light products in food preparation and steaming vegetables instead of cooking them in butter. Also, remember that substituting natural sweeteners with artificial sweeteners in desserts does not drastically reduce the overall calories of the dish.

Below are tips to help diabetics enjoy eating out.

— Keep blood glucose levels even. Test more frequently and adjust medications accordingly.

— Always wear medical identification and beware of where and how to obtain medical assistance, if needed.

— When ordering a meal, choose foods that have been grilled, barbecued, marinated, steamed, baked or poached.

— Try to find out what’s on the menu so you can plan your daily meal plan.

— Limit foods that are fried, creamed, buttered, breaded or served with sauces.

— Find out how alcohol affects your blood glucose.

Following these tips as well as consuming food in moderation and keeping close tabs on your blood sugar, will help you enjoy a healthy holiday season.

Source: Food and Health Communications, Inc.

Mississippi Cooperative Extension

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Deep-Dish Cranberry Apple Pie

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4 large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

¾ cup Splenda

¼ cup flour

1 tsp. apple pie spice

9 in. ready pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir in all ingredients, except pie crust, in a medium sized bowl. Pour into to 10 inch pie pan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place pie crust on top of fruit. Cut 3 or 4 slits to allow steam to escape. Bake until bubbly, about 1 hour. Serve warm. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Sandra R. Cain is the director of the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office.

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Keeping blood sugar normal during the holidays
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