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Controlling Diabetes During the Holidays. Janine Freeman, RD,LD,CDE UGA Extension Nutrition Specialist. ‘Tis The Season For Temptation. Out-of-control blood sugars Extra pounds. Holidays Are A Time To:. Share with family and loved ones Become spiritually connected

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Tis the season for temptation

Controlling Diabetes

During the Holidays

Janine Freeman, RD,LD,CDE

UGA Extension Nutrition Specialist

Tis the season for temptation

‘Tis The Season For Temptation

  • Out-of-control blood sugars

  • Extra pounds

Holidays are a time to

Holidays Are A Time To:

  • Share with family and loved ones

  • Become spiritually connected

  • Shop, decorate the house, wrap gifts

  • Bake and cook

  • Eat, eat, eat...

Focus on holiday activities that don t involve food

Focus On Holiday Activities That Don’t Involve Food

  • Decorating for the holidays

  • Attending holiday musicals or plays

  • Christmas caroling

  • Shopping

  • Gift-giving

Make time for physical activity

Make Time for Physical Activity

  • Relieves your stress

  • Improves your mood

  • Lowers your blood glucose levels

  • Helps with weight control

Fit physical activity into your busy schedule

Fit Physical Activity Into Your Busy Schedule

  • Split your activity into 2 or 3 intervals of 10-15 minutes each

  • Make physical activity a family event

  • Walk around the neighborhood after dinner

  • Go mall-walking

  • Park farther from your destination

Stay active while travelling

Stay Active While Travelling

  • Wear walking shoes

  • Get to airport early and walk concourses

  • Take very little carry-on luggage and walk during layovers

  • Look for hotels with exercise facilities

Lighten up your favorite holiday foods

Lighten Up Your Favorite Holiday Foods

Make changes in recipes to:

  • lower the carbohydrate

    • less effect on blood glucose

  • lower the fat or change the type of fat

    • healthier for your heart

    • fewer calories

Holiday baking

Holiday Baking

Desserts can be made with:

  • sugar

  • low-calorie sweeteners

Use of sugar in diabetes meal plan

Use of Sugar in Diabetes Meal Plan

  • Raises blood glucose levels in similar way to starches

  • Can be used in moderation

Use of sugar in the meal plan

Use of Sugar in the Meal Plan

  • Substitute sweets for other carbohydrate in the same meal

  • Check effect on your blood glucose after meals

Role of sugar in baking

Role of Sugar in Baking

  • Sugar provides volume, texture, moistness, and browning

  • Low-calorie sweeteners only provide sweet taste

Sugar in baking

Sugar in Baking

  • Sugar is needed in yeast breads to raise

  • The quality of many cakes and cookies suffer with reduced sugar or no sugar

Low calorie sweeteners in baking

Low-calorie Sweeteners in Baking

  • Sucralose (Splenda)

  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)

  • Acesulfame-K (Sweet-One)

  • Saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low, Sugar-Twin)

  • Neotame (recently approved by FDA)

Sucralose splenda

Sucralose (Splenda)

  • 600 times sweeter than sugar

  • Stable at high cooking temperatures

  • Recipes available on web site


Consider heat stability of sweeteners for cooking or baking

Consider Heat Stability of Sweeteners for Cooking or Baking

  • Unstable at high temperatures

    • Aspartame (loses sweetness)

    • Saccharin (becomes bitter)

  • Stable in cooking and baking

    • Sucralose

    • Acesulfame-K

Increase stability of aspartame

Increase Stability of Aspartame

(Equal, NutraSweet, store brands)

  • Add to food after cooking

  • Combine with more stable sweetener

  • Add acidic ingredient

Low calorie sweeteners

Low-calorie Sweeteners

  • In general, use when sugar is primarily for sweet taste

    • Fruit fillings (pies, cobblers)

    • Custards

    • Puddings

    • Beverages

    • Frozen desserts

    • Sauces and marinades

Low calorie sweeteners1

Low-calorie Sweeteners

Do not work well as the sole sweetener

in these foods:

  • Meringues

  • Angel food cake

  • Pecan pies

  • Pound cake

Tips for using low calorie sweeteners in baking

Tips for Using Low Calorie Sweeteners in Baking

  • Cookies, muffins, quickbreads:

    • Honey or molasses will add some flavor and moistness

    • Add baking soda

    • Check for doneness early

Tips for using low calorie sweeteners in baking1

Tips for Using Low Calorie Sweeteners in Baking

  • Cakes:

    • Use molasses or cocoa for browning

    • Add 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk and 1/2 tsp baking soda for every cup of sugar replaced

    • Combine sugar with low calorie sweetener

Tips for using low calorie sweeteners in baking2

Tips for Using Low Calorie Sweeteners in Baking

  • Fruit fillings, sauces, puddings, custards

    • Add thickening

    • Reduce cooking time

Choose a sweetener for pumpkin pie

Choose A Sweetener for Pumpkin Pie

  • What is the purpose of sugar in pumpkin pie?

  • Primarily sweet taste

  • Which sweeteners could be used?

  • Equal, Splenda, Sweet-One, or others

Choose a sweetener for red velvet cake

Choose a Sweetener for Red Velvet Cake

  • What is the purpose of sugar in a red velvet cake?

  • Volume, texture, tenderness, moistness

  • Would you use a sweetener? If so, which one?

  • Sugar would work best

Choose a sweetener for christmas cookies

Choose a Sweetener for Christmas Cookies

  • What is the purpose of sugar in cookies?

  • Texture, tenderness, browning, moistness, taste, volume

  • What sweetener would you use?

  • Sugar alone or sugar with Splenda, Equal, Sweet-One

Sugar vs low calorie sweetener

Pumpkin pie with sugar

38 grams carb

Pumpkin pie with low-calorie sweetener

20 grams carb

Sugar vs Low-calorie Sweetener

Sugar vs low calorie sweetener1

12 ounces Iced Tea with Sugar

33 grams carb

12 ounces Iced Tea with Low Calorie Sweetener

0 grams carb

Sugar vs Low-calorie Sweetener

Reduce fat in recipes

Reduce Fat in Recipes

Non-baked foods:

  • Substitute fat with non-fat or low-fat ingredients

  • Reduce the fat

Reduce fat in recipes1

Reduce Fat in Recipes

In baking:

  • Some fat needed for flavor, moisture, and tenderness

Reduce fat in recipes2

Reduce Fat in Recipes

In baking:

  • Use low-fat yogurt or sour cream in place of regular sour cream in cookies and muffins

  • Replace fat with 1/2 amount of fruit puree or applesauce

    • 1/2 cup prune or banana

      puree in place of 1 cup


Traditional vs healthy pumpkin pie

Traditional vs Healthy Pumpkin Pie

Holiday meals

Holiday Meals

Holiday meal tips

Holiday Meal Tips

  • Identify carbohydrate foods:

    (carbohydrates raise the blood glucose the most)


bread and rolls, stuffing, potatoes,

sweet potatoes, corn, peas, butter beans


fruit, candy, desserts, milk, sodas,

sweet tea, eggnog

Holiday meal tips1

Holiday Meal Tips

  • Eat usual daily amount of carbohydrate

    • Space out carbohydrate based on timing of holiday meal

  • Adjust insulin based on carbohydrate if you’ve been trained

  • Check blood glucose regularly

Holiday meal tips2

Holiday Meal Tips

  • Fill up on low-calorie salads and vegetables

  • Avoid second helpings

  • Use high-fat condiments sparingly

  • Small portion of dessert can be eaten in place of other carbohydrate foods

Estimating portion sizes

Estimating Portion Sizes

  • 1 cup pasta = woman’s clenched fist

  • ½ cup vegs = ½ tennis ball

  • 1 fruit serving = 1 tennis ball

  • 3 ounces meat = deck of cards

  • 1 teaspoon = thumb-tip

  • 1 tablespoon = 2 thumbs pressed together

Make smart food choices

63 grams carb

1 piece pecan pie

(1/8 of pie)

58 grams carb

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

1/2 cup stuffing

1 roll

1/2 cup green beans

3 ounces turkey

2 Tbs. gravy

Tossed salad with Italian dressing

Make Smart Food Choices

Holiday meal

Holiday Meal

  • 3 ounces turkey

  • 1/2 cup stuffing (20 grams carb)

  • 2 Tbs. gravy

  • 1/2 cup green beans (5 grams carb)

  • Tossed salad with Italian dressing

  • 1 slice pumpkin pie (38 g carb - sugar)

    • (20 g carb with sweetener)

Total carb: 63 grams (45 grams)

Traditional holiday dinner


Waldorf Salad

Roast Turkey/gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Mashed Potatoes/Gravy

Sausage Stuffing/gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Dinner rolls with butter

Pecan Pie


Low-fat mayonnaise

Without gravy

Plain beans or ff soup

Eliminate gravy

Avoid sausage

SF cranberry relish

Eliminate butter

Pumpkin Pie

Traditional Holiday Dinner

Attending holiday parties

Attending Holiday Parties

  • Plan ahead what you will eat

  • Offer to bring a healthy dish

  • Eat something light at home to curb your appetite

Attending holiday parties1

Attending Holiday Parties

  • Skip second helpings

  • Avoid lingering near buffet table

  • Mingle with guests - you’ll eat less

Limit alcoholic beverages

Limit Alcoholic Beverages

  • Reduces willpower

  • Adds extra pounds

  • Can cause hypoglycemia if taking insulin

  • Always eat something when drinking

Holiday entertaining

Holiday Entertaining

  • Reduce stress by planning ahead

  • Ask people to bring a dish

  • Don’t try to be a Martha Stewart

  • Get enough sleep

Reduce your stress

Reduce Your Stress

  • Plan ahead

  • Make a shopping list

  • Take a vacation day to do your shopping or holiday baking

  • Schedule physical activity

Enjoy your holidays

Enjoy Your Holidays

  • Don’t set your expectations too high

  • Enjoy your holiday festivities

Happy holidays

Happy Holidays!

Practical non food gifts to give or receive

Practical Non-food Gifts to Give or Receive

  • Pedometer

  • Exercise video

  • Walking shoes

  • Exercise clothes

  • Fitness class

  • Gift certificate to spa

  • Healthy cookbook

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