We count our blessings for family and friends, for health, and for all of the delicious food on our plates. Yet, knowing that a guest at your dinner table may follow a special diet or be managing a health condition can raise stress levels. If you have diabetes or are serving a guest who has diabetes, this gratitude may be overshadowed by anxiety.
Let’s face it, this Christmas does mainly revolve around food. Figuring out how to keep your feast delicious and meet everyone’s nutritional needs does not need to be difficult. In fact, there are many delicious spices, herbs, and whole foods that you can include in your holiday meal that will actually help to stabilize blood sugar and contribute to overall health of everyone at the table.
When diabetes, or any health condition for that matter, is a guest at your Christmas dinner table, it just might be an invitation for all of your guests to eat that much healthier!
Healthy Food On Your Christmas Dinner Table
Barley, buckwheat and other whole grains
These contain complex carbohydrates and are high in fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and damage to the heart. A hearty barley risotto or pilaf would fit in perfectly with any classic dish.
Beans, peas, and lentils
These are all high in B vitamins, which help to convert blood glucose into energy. For an appetizer, make a tasty three bean dip (add a dash of cayenne pepper for an extra boost) and serve with fresh veggies such as carrots and celery.
This delicious seasonal vegetable should definitely make an appearance on your table this Christmas. Brussels sprouts can help to increase efficient use of blood glucose due to its high levels of Vitamin E. This vegetable makes a fantastic side dish on every holiday table.
This spice is typically used as a way to add heat to a dish. Cayenne pepper is also known for its medicinal properties such as its ability to lower blood sugar. Don’t be afraid to spice up your seasoning this holiday season!
Cinnamon and cloves
Both cinnamon and cloves slow down digestion allowing for a slow release of carbohydrates, helping to stabilize blood sugar. For a simple and delicious dessert try sprinkling these spices on top of apple slices with a pinch of salt.
Like cinnamon, cumin helps to stabilize blood sugar by regulating insulin and glycogen. Cumin is a staple in Mexican, Indian and North African cuisines. It adds warmth to any dish! Try adding a pinch or two of cumin to your turkey rub.
Kale, cauliflower, and asparagus
These are high in vitamin C! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and levels of this vitamin may be low in diabetics. These vegetables are good raw and can be easily transformed through the use of spices, grilling, roasting, or steaming.
Potatoes are high in the mineral chromium which helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol. This year try adding cauliflower to your mashed potatoes for a boost of fiber!
These seeds are high in magnesium. This mineral helps promote healthy insulin production and energy metabolism in the nerves and muscles. How can you add this nutritious seed to your Christmas dinner? Pumpkin seeds are the perfect garnish for both salads and breads.
Salmon is well known for containing omega-3 fatty acids. A diet high in this essential fatty acid helps protect against diabetes related nerve and arterial damage. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease insulin resistance in diabetics. Make a delicious salmon chowder to accompany your meal.
Thyme is rich in cancer-fighting phytonutrients and zinc. Zinc is essential for the formation of insulin in the pancreas. So this spice is a must at your dinner table. Thyme can easily be incorporated into the seasoning for your poultry or your vegetables.
Finally, the piece-de-resistance, and an essential part of every Christmas! Turkey is another food high in Vitamin B. Vitamin B is essential for nerve health and preventing diabetic neuropathy. Turkey is also high in protein which can increase satiety and slow digestion. When serving turkey, remember to remove fatty skin and enjoy!
Using these foods in your Christmas feast will help to make everyone happy around the dinner table while making a positive impact on health and blood sugar regulation. What better way to honor and celebrate Christmas than by serving your guests food that is delectable and nourishing. Maybe this is the year to be thankful for learning about a new food or spice?