THE BLOG
09/29/2016 10:32 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2017

Navigating The Holiday Eating Season With Diabetes

Nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and managing the holiday eating season - with or without diabetes - can be challenging. As the air cools, we start anticipating wonderful holiday tastes and aromas, which may make it hard to avoid over-indulging during the holiday seasons. With November being American Diabetes Month, and the unofficial kick off of marathon of holiday feasts, it's a good time to consider the importance of savoring nutritious food and practicing mindful eating.

Below are some practical tips to eat more mindfully and avoid temptations to overeat this holiday season:

• Use a smaller plate, such as a salad plate, instead of the regular 12" inch plate. It is harder to over serve when you have a small plate.
• Manage portions by using your hand as measurement. For example, meat, fish, or poultry portions should be roughly about the size of your palm (3 ounces); pasta should be about the size of a clenched fist (1 cup); and nuts should be one handful (1-2 ounces).
• Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Did you know that 8 strawberries (1 cup) has only 45 calories? They are delicious, appealing, naturally low in sugar, rich in vitamin C, and full of essential nutrients and dietary fiber. In fact, the American Diabetes Association identifies berries, including strawberries, as one of the top ten superfoods for a diabetes meal plan.
• Balance your plate with a variety of foods from all the different food groups.
• Practice serving age appropriate portions according to your, or your family's daily physical activity.
• Take smaller bites and chew food slowly and steadily at least 15 times before swallowing.
• Before taking another bite of food, stop and ask yourself if you are really hungry. Sometimes being dehydrated, or tired, distracts us from how fast, or how much, we are eating.
• Drink plenty of water or low calorie beverages during the day in order to stay well-hydrated.
• Get plenty of rest.
• Eat a light, healthy snack before the party to curb your appetite, if you know there will be many favorite treats.
• Go easy on the alcohol. Cocktails don't only carry empty calories; they may also help you lose track of your food intake.
• When at a party, stay away from the buffet table. Go mingle and focus your attention on fun conversations instead of the food.
• Eat meals on time. Skipping meals may lead to overeating later.

Planning your own get-together? Serve this Diabetes-friendly, elegant appetizer that perfectly blends freshness with sweet, savory flavors and a dash of spice.

Strawberry Shrimp Ceviche

Ingredients
3/4 pound cooked peeled shrimp
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, diced cucumber
3/4 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 cups (about ¼ pound) quartered, stemmed California strawberries
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Ceviche Dressing
1/4 cup chopped, stemmed California strawberries
1/4 cup chopped plum tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Preparation
To make Ceviche dressing: in blender or food processor, purée all ingredients until smooth. In large bowl, toss shrimp, cucumber, onion and peppers with Ceviche dressing. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes but no more than 4 hours. Just before serving, add strawberries and cilantro; mix gently but thoroughly. Makes 6 appetizer servings.

Diabetes Exchanges: Fruit 0.25, Vegetable 0.5, Very Lean Meat 2, Fat 1