By Amanda Grayson - Contributor

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Feast (but not too much) with these healthy holiday eating tips

November 20, 2017

How confident are you heading into the next several weeks of holiday menus, super-generous buffets and back-to-back parties?

November is when all the feasting begins. It’s also Diabetes Awareness Month. Living with diabetes, a disease that occurs when your blood glucose is too high, can be especially challenging during the holidays. Even if you’re not living with diabetes, one in three Americans have a “warning sign,” a condition called prediabetes and 90 percent do not know it. No matter what, trying to manage a healthy diet during this time of year is especially important and can be challenging.

 

The good news is that there are proven strategies that can help you navigate through the season’s spreads without putting your health at risk. Omada Health, an online diabetes prevention program, offers these healthy eating tips:

Focus on family instead of food

We can experience a strong emotional connection with certain foods and memories. Grandma’s famous dressing or your favorite aunt’s signature apple pie can represent fond family gatherings and even love.  Recognizing that being with people we care about and enjoying that time together, rather than specific foods, helps us be more mindful of our choices.

Include healthy options

When hosting holiday gatherings, include some healthy foods on the menu. The culinary experts at The Cooks of Crocus Hill developed several diabetes-friendly recipes that are rich in nutrients and flavor. Swiss chard with creme fraiche is a savory option to add to the table. Cauliflower mashers can satisfy cravings for comfort food. Peaches with Amaretti biscuits and oranges with cardamom syrup are sweet, but not too sinful.

This month, The Cooks of Crocus Hill will offer a diabetes-friendly cooking class at the Edina and Roseville Blue Cross retail centers. More details about this class and all retail center community events are available on bluecrossmn.com/centers.

Watch those portions

It’s easy to over-indulge when surrounded by deliciousness, but there are simple ways to control your portions.

  • Use a smaller plate. Aim to cover one-half of the plate with vegetables and one-fourth of the plate with lean meats. That will leave less room for potatoes and dessert.
  • Follow the three-bite rule.  Chew three times slowly before swallowing and drink water in between each mouthful to help maintain control. Remember, this isn’t your last meal. There will be leftovers in a few hours!
  • Have a seat. We tend to eat and drink less when sitting down—preferably away from the buffet line or treat table.

Going in with a plan to limit dessert to a few small bites can help keep you from overdoing it, too.

Omada Health and Blue Cross

Omada Health offers weekly lessons, group support and a personal health coach to offer guidance while learning and adopting strategies like these. Omada and Blue Cross have been working together closely since 2015. Call the number on the back of your Blue Cross membership card to learn if Omada is available for you.

Blue Cross has a short online quiz that you can take here to see if you are at risk for prediabetes.

Now, let the holidays begin with some healthy eating!

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