Holiday meals create a mental picture in my head of eating too much. During the holidays is when people tend to have higher blood sugars, gain weight, and eat much more junk and larger portions than normal, especially with the parties, the busyness resulting in eating out more, and then the famous holiday meals. Kids tend to do better with at least listening to their body and not eating til they are stuffed.
Focus on offering and eating some healthier options, but allowing some of your favorites. Use an app like Calorie King or Go Meals if you need help with carb counting. The key with your kids if they eat more junk is to give more insulin to match the carb intake. (Here’s a post on a carb ratio if you aren’t sure about adjusting insulin.)
Plan ahead for busy days and nights with some freeze ahead meals or quick and easy go-to meals your family loves. The most important part is to listen to your body! When you feel full, stop! Don’t stuff yourself! Watching your portions is the best way to watch your waistline and health. Half-cup is a typical portion.
What a Healthy Plate looks like:
To make a balanced plate, the easiest way is to divide your plate in half. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. (Yes, I know that’s hard with kids. Add some cheese sauce or ranch if that helps.)
Divide the other half of your plate into halves (so 1/4 the plate). In one 1/4 put your meat. In the other 1/4 put your starch or grains. (Starches are breads/potatoes/rice/pastas)
Add some milk for a drink to get in your child’s vitamin D and calcium.
What About the Holiday Sweets?
If your child is on a set number of carbs for a meal with a set insulin dose, you can substitute the sweets for other carbs. I would recommend asking your doctor to move you towards a carb ratio and adjusting the insulin based on what your child eats. This gives your child more freedom, creates less stress for you, and helps prevent sneaking food.
Some people try making desserts with artificial sweeteners. I recommend using real sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, or substituting a real food like honey or maple syrup. I would rather give a bit more insulin than give my children artificial ingredients. Frequently you can decrease the amount of sugar, sometimes by half, without noticing a huge difference in taste. I usually substitute some of the butter for a monounsaturated oil like canola oil to make it healthier. Things with milk or cream, I usually substitute a lower fat milk.
If you need help with figuring carbs in a recipe, SparkPeople.com has a great recipe analyzer. You just type in the ingredients and serving sizes and it pops up the nutritional analysis for you.
Let your child be a kid and enjoy what the other kids are doing. I don’t recommend singling out children with diabetes and making them eat something different.
What are some of your favorite ways to eat better during the holidays? Comment below so we can all learn from each other!