November is Diabetes Month and with all the holiday parties, chances are, diabetes is on a lot of people’s minds—whether it’s you, your family, or someone at the party. How do you plan a party that caters to all your guests? Follow these three easy tips and you will be well on your way to celebrating the holidays with traditional treats that make everyone feel special—and still keep health in mind.
- Open the door for conversation. Make it easy for guests to share any special concerns with you prior to the party. Or, flip it and include pretty notecards in front of each dish with a small explanation of what ingredients are in it. This will make it easy for those with medical concerns. From intolerances to chronic conditions, communication is key, and whether you ask ahead or incorporate the information into the party plan, guests will appreciate the information. If you aren’t hosting but attending, talk privately with the host/hostess ahead of time, especially if allergies are present. Offering to bring a dish (explaining why) can make it easier on everyone.
- Plan menus with all five food groups in mind. Chances are, if a balanced menu is planned that includes some simple choices from the different food groups—in addition to more decadent dishes that are seasonal favorites—nearly everyone can find something to eat that fits into their health goals. Cut up fruits and veggies, serving any sauces or dips on the side. Offer simple grains like rice, whole grain rolls, or crackers, and have milk, yogurt, and cheese to enjoy on their own or with other items. Serve protein foods and desserts in a variety of portion sizes. With these simple steps, guests can enjoy meals that they tailor to fit their needs.
- Get going! Holidays make busy days seem even busier, but there’s always time for health. We know how helpful exercise is for so many reasons, whether you have diabetes or not. If traveling by plane, walk around instead of sitting at the gate before boarding the plane. Road trip? Make sure to stretch legs when stopping for gas, and if time allows, plan in stops where you can take a longer walk. Stay in hotels with fitness centers, and pack your own food-safe snacks and water to ensure healthier eating on the go. If staying home, stick to your normal activity routine and fit in fitness where you can, like parking farther at the store when shopping for gifts and groceries, or taking an extra lap around the store and going up and down every aisle.
Here’s to starting the holidays off right with better choices in mind!
Kim Kirchherr, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, FAND