13 Healthy Holiday Swaps

Do you have diabetes and wonder: What can I eat at holiday parties and dinners? We have great tips to make healthier choices so you can still be festive while managing your weight and blood sugar goals.

Best Choices for Holiday Eating

The holidays are all about get-togethers with family, friends, and colleagues -- and what holiday gathering would be complete without food? But there's no need to worry about blowing your calorie and carb budget. With these 13 simple swaps, you can enjoy the holiday season confident and guilt-free.

FREE Holiday Recipes Mini Cookbook

Chip Dip

Ready to dip those chips? Choose fresh salsa over cheese dip, and you'll save 125 calories and 12 grams of carb per 1/2 cup.

Bonus: You'll save 4 grams of saturated fat -- plus, a colorful red and green salsa is sure to complement your holiday decor.

Try our Fresh Tomato Salsa recipe!

Skinny Shrimp

There's no need to avoid appetizers while mingling. Save 113 calories and 1 gram of carb by selecting three jumbo shrimp and 2 tablespoons of cocktail sauce instead of three pigs in a blanket.

Bonus: In addition to saving 4.5 grams of saturated fat by choosing the shrimp, you can also be stylish -- it's hard to look holiday chic when gobbling down something called pigs in a blanket.

Forget the Fruitcake

Pass up that slice of Aunt Fanny's fruitcake and nibble on a decorative sugar cookie instead. You'll save 79 calories and 19 grams of carb.

Bonus: Any leftover sugar cookies make the perfect gift for your lovable neighbors.

Get our best Christmas cookie recipes!

Limit Alcohol

Time for an after-dinner drink? Skip a liqueur such as cognac (82 calories per 1 fluid ounce) and choose a seasonal tea like Cinnamon Apple Spice, which comes in at 0 calories as long as you use a sugar substitute to sweeten it.

Bonus: You'll keep your head clear for that post-dinner chitchat and the drive home.

Add Some Sparkle

Instead of a traditional glass of white wine, mix half wine and half sparkling water to save 54 calories and 4 grams of carb (for a 5-fluid-ounce drink).

Bonus: In addition to enjoying a low-calorie, low-carb beverage, you'll cut your alcohol consumption -- but remember that carbonation might cause alcohol to absorb faster.

Pick the Right Pie

When it's time for dessert, slice yourself some apple pie (1/6 of an 8-inch pie) instead of pecan pie to save a whopping 175 calories and 25 grams of carb.

Bonus: With the natural sweetness of fresh apple pie, you can skip the whipped cream often served with pecan pie and save an additional 52 calories per tablespoon.

Get our Lattice-Topped Apple Pie recipe!

Keep the Turkey

When it's time for the main dish, choose 3 ounces of extra-lean, skinless turkey breast over 3 ounces of a glazed ham, and save 14 calories and 2 grams of carb.

Bonus: While ham is tasty, turkey is more traditional. Plus, it's lower in sodium.

Enjoy (Dark) Chocolate

While you might be tempted to slip a candy cane off the Christmas tree, instead satisfy your sweet tooth with a dark chocolate treat, such as a Special Dark Hershey's Kiss. You'll save 20 calories and 8 grams of carb.

Bonus: Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which have been studied for their heart-healthy benefits.

Toss Traditional Stuffing

A rich stuffing is expected, but why not spice things up by serving a delicious wild rice instead? You'll save 214 calories and 15 grams of carb per cup.

Bonus: This twist on a traditional side dish will also save 3 grams of saturated fat per cup.

Try this wild rice recipe for your next gathering!

Snack Right

Hosting a party and want to set out snacks? Try air-popped popcorn instead of salted mixed nuts, and save a whopping 855 calories and 25 grams of carb per cup!

Bonus: Any leftover popcorn can be strung with a needle and thread for a fun, traditional Christmas tree decoration.

Customize Your Cocoa

If you stop by your favorite coffee shop during holiday shopping for something to warm you up, choose an 8-ounce hot chocolate with fat-free milk instead of a specialty drink (like white chocolate peppermint mocha with whipped cream). You'll save 150 calories and 14 grams of carb.

Bonus: A heavy drink will make you want to head on home, but a just-right hot chocolate will be the perfect pick-me-up to head back out to the shops.

Put Away the Potatoes

Need a delicious side dish? Dig into mashed rutabaga with a dash of salt instead of mashed potatoes with whole milk and butter, and save 143 calories and 14 grams of carb per cup.

Bonus: Rutabaga will also save you 4 grams of saturated fat and provide a healthy dose of vitamin C.

Champagne Cheers

Say cheers to champagne and skip the eggnog. You'll save 109 calories and 25 grams of carb per glass.

Bonus: Champagne is more for sipping than slugging, so one glass will keep you busy longer.

Check out our best holiday dessert makeovers!

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