It can be hard to prioritize your health during the holiday season, so here are some top tips I’ve included to ensure a successful upcoming year. You may be attending holiday events such as family get togethers, work parties and festivals and with the addition of tempting snacks and festive drinks, maintaining a healthy diet and blood sugars can become a frustrating challenge. While it may not seem fair having to take extra measures to manage your health, it will pay off in the long run as you begin the new year healthy versus gaining unwanted pounds and having uncontrolled blood sugar levels. To make sure you are on the best treatment for your diabetes management, it may be helpful to talk to your diabetes educator about getting through the festive season.

Here are some tips to help with your success:

• Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast and if you intend to exercise, make sure you eat within 45 minutes of doing so to keep your blood sugar regulated. This will prevent you from craving unhealthy sweets later in the day.

• Follow the plate method when eating, as there will be several carbohydrate options, but make sure you are balancing 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 with lean meat, and the remaining 1/4 plate with carbohydrate-rich foods, such as a roll, corn, or potatoes.

• Choose foods that are grilled, not fried, and vegetables that are steamed versus covered in butter or gravy.

• Include calorie-free beverages into your meal such as water. Drink a glass before you eat your meal to help with satiety and to eat less at your meal.

• Make sure you include physical activity after your meal. This could include a walk with your friends and family to help burn some of the carbohydrates or sugar you ate at your meal and also help with insulin sensitivity.

• Make a contract with yourself and a trusted family member to keep you accountable through the holiday season, or even join a group that has similar goals to help keep you on track.

I’ve included some delicious holiday recipes from to help you enjoy those favorite holiday foods, without sacrificing your health. There are also several other websites with healthy recipes and diabetes tip to keep you on track, such as and



  • 1⁄2 cup shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup light mayonnaise dressing or salad dressing
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3⁄4 cup bottled roasted red sweet peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 red and/or yellow sweet peppers, seeded and cut into strips, or desired dippers

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together mozzarella cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise dressing, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the flour, and the Dijon mustard.

2. Stir in the spinach, roasted red peppers, and 2 tablespoons of the green onions. Spread the cheese vegetable mixture evenly into a 1-quart ovenproof shallow dish or a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

3. Bake the dip, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the mixture is heated through. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons green onions. Serve with red and/or yellow sweet pepper strips. Makes 21⁄4 cups.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING: Calories: 21, Total Fat: 2 g (0 g sat. fat), Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 47 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 10 g



  • 1 12-14-pound turkey
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1 tea- spoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 tea- spoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1⁄2 teaspoon regular salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 small onions, quartered (12 oz total)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh sage leaves, pomegranate wedges, tiny apples or pears, and/or kumquats (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove neck and giblets from turkey, reserving neck bone. Rinse the inside of the turkey; pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, stir together snipped or dried rosemary, thyme, snipped or dried sage, salt, and pepper. Season inside of body cavity with half of the herb mixture. Pull neck skin to the back; fasten with a skewer. Tuck the ends of the drumsticks under the band of skin across the tail. If there is no band of skin, tie the drumsticks securely to the tail with 100 percent cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under the back.

2. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Arrange onions, carrots, celery, and neck bone around turkey in roasting pan. Pour the water into the pan. Brush turkey with oil. Sprinkle turkey with remaining herb mixture. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle; the thermometer should not touch bone. Cover turkey loosely with foil.

3. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Roast for 21⁄2 to 3 hours more or until the thermometer registers 180°F. About 45 minutes before end of roasting, remove foil and cut band of skin or string between drumsticks so thighs cook evenly. When turkey is done, the juices should run clear and the drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.

4. Remove turkey from oven. Transfer to a serving platter (re- serve mixture in pan for gravy). Cover; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. If desired, garnish platter with rosemary sprigs, sage leaves, pomegranate wedges, tiny apples or pears, and/or kumquats. Makes 24 (about 4-ounce) servings.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING : Calories : 229, Protein: 38 gm, Total Fat : 7 gm (Saturated Fat: 2 gm), Cholesterol: 137 mg, Sodium: 155 mg



  • 1 recipe Lower-Fat Oil Pastry (see below)
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1⁄23 cup maple-flavored syrup
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 packets of heat-stable sugar substitute
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 11⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 cup fat-free milk
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3⁄4 cup refrigerated or 1. frozen egg product, thawed
  • 1 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla 2.
  • Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Combine milk and oil; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until dough forms. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk. Shape the dough into a ball.
  2.  Prepare Lower-Fat Oil Pastry. On a lightly floured surface flatten pastry. Roll into a 12-inch circle. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pan, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1⁄2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp the edge as desired. Do not prick pastry.
  3. For the filling, in a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, maple-flavored syrup, flour, sugar substitute, and pumpkin pie spice; add egg product. Beat lightly with a rotary beater or fork until just combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and vanilla; mix well.
  4. Place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack. Carefully pour filling into pastry shell. To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours. If desired, top with dessert topping and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING: Calories: 216, Protein: 8 gm, Carbohydrate: 32 gm, Total Fat: 6 gm (Saturated Fat: 1 gm), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Dietary Fiber: 2 gm



  • 1⁄4 cup butter, softened
  • 1⁄4 cup 50% to 70% vegetable oil spread
  • 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⁄4 cup full-flavor molasses
  • 1⁄4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour

1. In a large bowl, combine butter and vegetable oil spread; beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Beat until well mixed, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in molasses and egg. (Mixture will look curdled.) Add all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, beating just until combined. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill the dough for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2- to 3-inch gingerbread person cookie cutter, cut out shapes; re-roll scraps as necessary. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until edges are firm and centers are set. Cool on cookie sheets on wire racks for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

*Test Kitchen Tip: We do not recommend using brown sugar substitutes for this recipe

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING: Calories: 73, Protein: 1 gm, Carbohydrate: 12 gm, Total Fat: 2 gm (Saturated Fat: 1 gm), Cholesterol; 3 mg, Sodium: 73 mg

All recipes from Diabetic Living® magazine. For more diabetes-friendly recipes, visit-

By Emmie Olivas: RD, CDE
Cecelia Health Certified Diabetes Educator