Nutrition

Healthier Season’s Treatings: Appetizers and Beverages

November 17, 2021

Healthier Season’s Treatings: Appetizers and Beverages

The holidays are a time to celebrate the reason for the season with loved ones.  You do not have to wrap-up the holiday season with uncontrolled blood sugars and not feeling your best.  Overstuffing on high-calorie appetizers and beverages can make the remainder of your meal and celebration less enjoyable.  Consider these ideas for choosing delicious and nutritious meal starters and drink options.

Appetizers

  1. Consider incorporating a non-starchy vegetable – they provided ample nutrients, fiber and fullness as well as minimal calories. Try stuffed peppers, roasted brussels sprouts or asparagus, a colorful vegetable tray including carrots, peppers and cucumbers with hummus, a tossed salad, stuffed portobello mushrooms, or Greek-yogurt spinach artichoke dip.
  2. Include a lean protein or healthy fat to avoid the feeling of needing to overeat at meal time. Some dishes to consider include lean chicken skewers, turkey meatballs, smoked salmon cucumber bites, a charcuterie board with cheese, meat and nuts, deviled eggs, unsalted nuts or trail mix, shrimp cocktail, or roasted chickpeas.
  3. Think about choosing an appetizer lower in carbohydrates as the main meal commonly provides plenty of these. For individuals with diabetes, keeping your appetizer serving within your mealtime carbohydrate goal may aid in better glucose control. Complex carbohydrates – legumes, whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy – contain more fiber that keeps you fuller compared to simple sugars.  For example, use whole grain bread when making avocado bruschetta bites or avocado-pomegranate crostini.

While enjoying meal starters, avoid standing near the table of food as this can lead to excess grazing.  If you have the option to use a smaller appetizer plate, this can help with portion control.  Also make sure you are drinking plenty of sugar-free fluids to help keep you satisfied and hydrated.

Beverages

Holiday food itself is already delicious – avoid breaking the calorie bank with beverages!

Consider making non-alcoholic versions of favorite holiday beverages.  Using sugar-containing punch, juice, regular soda, lemonade, and egg nog can make blood glucose and weight management difficult.  Instead, utilize diet soda, seltzer water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or light juices which contain lesser-to-no calories and carbohydrates.

If you choose to drink alcohol, be sure to control the types and amounts consumed.  A serving of champagne, dry white or red wine contains less carbohydrates and calories than dessert wines.  If you enjoy beer, consider choosing a light version.  While unsweetened vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila, and gin contain no carbohydrates, they are high in calories which may make weight management difficult.  In addition, using sugar-containing mixers makes management even more challenging – instead consider using diet tonic water, diet soda, or light juice.  Practicing moderation is also important – this is considered limiting to two or less drinks per day for men and one or less drink per day for women.  One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.  Avoid drinking alcohol with an empty stomach, especially if you have diabetes as this increases your risk of a low blood sugar.  Speak with your medical provider to make sure alcohol is appropriate for you to drink.

Relax and enjoy spending time with loved ones during the holidays!  Making balanced appetizer and beverage choices can be delicious and will keep you feeling your best during this time of celebration.

Want more healthy holiday tips? Get ideas for your main course and desserts too!

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