Being told you have diabetes is rough, but figuring out how to manage it through diet can seem overwhelming. The holidays is a major hurtle to get through when you are starting out and every food may seem taboo, especially sweets. A holiday sweet may now seem to be a thing of the past. I’m here to tell you though that eating that pumpkin cookie, or pecan pie is no longer considered cheating but a choice!
Snacks are an important part of the meal plan for all people with diabetes. Snacks help to stabilize blood glucose levels that can be erratic
due to insulin already working in the body, exercise and stress. They are also key to preventing hypoglycemia, which can be a scary event. People with diabetes can eat some sugar as long as it is worked into their meal plan just you would with eating any carbohydrate food item. Because sweets don’t contain the essential vitamins and minerals found in healthier carbohydrate food items and may be higher in fat, it would make sense to save a holiday treat as a special treat.
To have the sweet at your meal simply cut back on the other carbohydrate (CHO) foods at that meal. The key is keeping the amount of carbohydrates the same. An example is swapping the cookie for the slice of bread. Read the label on the cookie package. First determine serving size, and then total CHO. The total CHO tells you how much is in one serving. If you eat more than one serving you have to increase the amount of CHO that you count. One serving of CHO is 15 gm, therefore if the cookie has 17 gm you eat one cookie. Keep in mind, sweets contain fat so they will be higher in calories than that piece of fruit you substituted with. Bottom line – enjoy the holidays with that piece of pumpkin pie.
Signature Joanne Slyter, dietitian, Westminster, CO