Person taking baked chicken out of oven

Holiday eating (and drinking) tips for diabetes

By Anastasia Climan Dec 22, 2022 • 3 min

Holidays provide many opportunities to indulge in delicious foods and cocktails. Here are some helpful tips for enjoying festive treats if you have diabetes.

Choose diabetes-friendly appetizers

Sometimes starters are the best part of a meal. Fortunately, lots of popular appetizers are fine for people with diabetes. Do your best to limit deep-fried and high-carb foods. Instead, reach for something healthier, such as hummus, olives, cheese or even shrimp cocktail. Anything that’s green, but not dyed green for the holidays, is usually a better bet, so make an effort to include some vegetables on your plate.

You can help take care of yourself and others by bringing a healthy appetizer to share. If you’re not a big fan of cooking, grab a store-bought veggie platter, and you’re good to go.

Use the Plate Method

You can follow the Plate Method for a diabetes-friendly meal at any holiday buffet or potluck. Simply follow this formula:

  • Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or leafy greens)
  • A quarter of your plate with protein (such as meat, seafood or lentils)
  • The remaining quarter with carbs (fruit, grains or starches)

 Walk or dance after a big meal to improve your blood sugar levels. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until New Year’s Day to commit to an active lifestyle.

Savor sweet treats sparingly

The term “save room for dessert” rings especially true for people with diabetes during the holidays. Eating fewer carbs at meals makes the sugar from after-dinner treats easier for your body to handle. In addition, keeping portions small and modifying your favorite recipes to have less sugar can help you maintain healthy glucose levels. 

After a celebration, resist the urge to take home leftover treats. Keeping desserts and candy out of the house makes it easier to stick to your healthy eating plan at home. 

Stay safe with alcohol

If you’re wondering how alcohol affects diabetes, the answer is: It’s tricky. 

It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about alcohol recommendations. Raising a toast may be fine, but stay on the safe side by limiting yourself to one or two drinks, and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Finally, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Published December 2022.

Explore more

7 min
By Walgreens
Jul 26
6 min
By Julian Park, PharmD
May 09
5 min
By Jenilee Matz, MPH
Mar 11