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Holiday Party Tips for Diabetics

Enjoy this holiday season by making smart choices at the bar and appetizer table

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Bartender holding glass -- Holiday Party Tips for Diabetics

Holidays are an occasion to enjoy time with family and friends and celebrate with delicious food. I’ve included my tips on which holiday cocktails to sip or skip, low-carbohydrate appetizers to serve at your next gathering, and a few no-cook holiday gift ideas that will save you time in the kitchen during the busy holiday season.

Which holiday cocktails should I include and avoid?

Alcoholic beverages should always be consumed in moderation. Moderate alcohol use is considered up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. If one is truly following moderate drinking guidelines and just indulging in one or two of his or her favorite one-time-a-year cocktails, really any option can be enjoyed (yes — even higher-calorie and -carbohydrate choices). If social schedules include more frequent drinking, then one might want to consider some of the lower-calorie and lower-carbohydrate cocktail options as an alternative. Below are suggestions for what you might want to sip or skip at your next holiday event.

Alcoholic Drinks to Sip or Skip

What are the best low-carbohydrate appetizers for entertaining?

A few of my favorite and festive lower-carbohydrate ways to start a meal include:

Parmesan Crisps: Homemade or pre-purchased, these are a simple, one-ingredient snack or appetizer that is lower in carbohydrates than the traditional cracker tray.

Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers: Fill mini bell peppers with a mixture of ground sausage, light cream cheese and fresh herbs.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Boats: Use mini cucumbers and stuff with a mixture of smoked salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice and fresh dill. Garnish with capers.

Antipasto Kabobs: Create easy-to-handle skewers for guests by threading your favorite antipasto platter ingredients on skewers. Try mini tomatoes, squares of feta cheese or mini mozzarella balls, marinated artichokes, pepperoncinis, and prosciutto or salami.

Deviled Eggs: To put a new twist on a classic, simple dish that is always a crowd favorite, try adding avocado, crumbled bacon, chives or a dash of hot sauce to your favorite deviled eggs recipe.

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I don’t want to bake for the holidays. What are some other good gift options?

Baking may or may not be how you like to spend time during the holiday season. Regardless of whether you enjoy baking but gave out your last batch of cookies or dislike spending time in the kitchen, here are a few quick and easy ideas for food-related holiday gifts that won’t require turning on the oven.

Citrus & Pomegranate Basket: Focus on seasonal produce options and pair citrus with pomegranate to create a colorful and festive holiday basket. Consider putting a few whole cloves in some of the oranges or clementines to create pomander balls for an extra decorative touch.

Recipe Cards: Instead of giving the gift of food, consider sharing some of your favorite recipes that friends or family can make on their own time. Decorate recipe cards with festive wrapping paper and bundle cards together with holiday ribbon or twine.

Whole Nuts & Nutcracker: When I was growing up, whole nuts in their shell were always a holiday staple placed in a large bowl in the living room at my house for family and friends to enjoy. A healthy snack option to curb cravings between meals, these are also a super simple gift idea. Simply place whole nuts in a large jar and tie a nutcracker to the lid with a beautiful ribbon.

Want to learn more about navigating the holidays with diabetes? Read “Master Holiday Health Pitfalls” “Have a Relaxing Holiday: 7 Tips to Relieve Seasonal Stress” and “The Holiday Meal Survival Guide.”

Originally Published December 23, 2019
Alison Massey, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE

Alison Massey, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE

Alison Massey, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE on social media

A Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over a decade of experience in various community and clinical settings, Massey is currently an educator with Frederick Primary Care Associates (FPCA) in Frederick, Maryland. She is passionate about health promotion and serves as the quality coordinator for the accredited diabetes education program at FPCA. Working with the media is Massey’s favorite way to share her wealth of nutrition and diabetes knowledge with the general public and she is often featured in various Maryland media outlets. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science from the Pennsylvania State University and Master of Science in Health Promotion from the University of Delaware.

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