How to Survive (and Thrive) at a Potluck

Potluck buffet spreads can be loaded with temptations, but with the right approach, you can serve up some healthful choices and not feel deprived. Find simple tips and tricks to enjoy your next potluck without blowing your diabetes eating plan.

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The Dish You Take

Smart potluck decisions start at home: Figure out a dish you can take so you're guaranteed at least one healthful option. Then plan how other foods can fit on your plate.

Contributing foods that suit your meal plan lets you assume control over your potluck choices. Grilled veggies -- served hot or cold -- add nutritious variety to the table. Vegetable skewers with zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and pepper chunks are easy to pick up -- and with cubes of lean meat, they make an entree.

Remember salads, too. "Coleslaw or potato or macaroni salad made healthy with generous amounts of colorful chopped vegetables and low-fat mayonnaise or plain low-fat yogurt is a healthy complement to a potluck meal," says Roniece Weaver, R.D., L.D., coauthor of The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2006). Weaver also encourages homemade broccoli slaw as an alternative to cabbage coleslaw.

For a sandwich buffet, think about whole wheat pita pocket halves. You can serve them with stuff-it-yourself fillings such as lean meats, plain tuna, reduced-fat cheese, tomato, and spinach.

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