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16 Tips for Healthwise Holiday Eating & Managing Diabetes

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Like so many of you, I glanced at the calendar and had that light bulb moment, realizing that the holiday season is on the doorstep. They’re lighting trees, promoting holiday gifts and stocking supermarkets with all the ingredients to cook up the seasonal dishes and desserts we love. One of the things that is consistently are on the minds of my clients living with diabetes is the “Tis’ the season what can I eat challenge?” Though it may seem daunting from their side of the table, I reassure them that they can continue to enjoy many of their favorite foods, they simply must think about the foods they choose weighing the pros and cons of the options on the menu.

Today it is fairly easy for the savvy host or hostess to respond to the needs of guests on special diets. Whether living with diabetes, looking for gluten-free or vegetarian a little pre-planning will aid in making sure you stick to your eating plan. Following are guidelines to help you stay on track if you have special diet needs.


  1. Stay in your routine—take your medications at the same times you usually take them.

  2. When you’re invited out or join the office potluck team, volunteer to bring a dish, choosing to bring a healthy option.

  3. When you know you need a treat to soothe that sweet tooth, cutback on the carbohydrates in the meal such as potatoes, rice or bread.

  4. Don’t skip meals. Your goal is to keep your blood sugar in control and skipping meals will leave you hungry and more inclined to overeat.

  5. Exercise regularly—can’t get to the gym? Take the stairs or park further from your destination to make sure you get the exercise in.


  1. Keep snacks on hand such as 1-oz portions of nuts or mini-rice cakes while shopping or running errands.

  2. Choose vegetables instead of crackers and breads to go along with dip options.

  3. If making dips or spreads, try plain Greek-style yogurt instead of sour cream or cream cheese.

  4. Sweet potatoes are an iconic favorite—if hosting, serve roasted sweet potatoes along with the traditional version that is often topped with brown sugar or marshmallows.

  5. Fill a small plate with recommended portions of your favorite foods.

  6. Skip or limit alcohol. If you have a drink, have it with food.

  7. Choose club soda with a slice of lemon or lime as a mock cocktail.

  8. Limit gravy or choose the au jus version in place of a thickened one.

  9. Drink plenty of water. It keeps you hydrated and aids digestion.


  1. Get your body moving. This can be as simple as helping to clear the table. Take a walk or if there is music, encourage dancing.

  2. Get plenty of sleep; sleep deprivation can make it difficult to maintain blood sugar levels and it will contribute to eating more.

These guidelines will help you enjoy the festivities without overindulging. Remember the reason for the season–you can enjoy food, festivities and friends making memories with those you care about.

Take way: Pre-planning for meals during the holiday season aids in staying on the healthwise track during the season of good eating.

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