How to cater for a Diabetic this Christmas

It’s your turn to host the Christmas ‘do’ this year. You’re all set to nail the festive spread with a weapon of delicious holiday favourites to dish up to your guests…. except there’s one problem…you’ve just been told that one of your guests has Diabetes. Enter full blown, festive crisis-mode…

It’s no secret that eating at Christmas is a huge part of the fun and enjoyment, but for those with diabetes, a healthy diet is always a top priority.  So what do you do when you want to serve up your most indulgent traditional dishes without sabotaging the special dietary needs of your Diabetic guest?

Be rest assured that as Christmas caterer this year, there is no need for anyone to miss out on food, for complicated recipes to be devised or for anyone to enter panic mode! Simple recipe adaptations and extra precautions to how you serve up your Christmas dishes will make the world of difference for both you and your diabetic guest – no compromises necessary.

To show you how, we’ve recruited #noshulover and Type 1 Diabetic, Adelaide to come to the rescue with some incredibly useful and simple tips. Read ahead.

First, you rock for reading this. Thank you for taking the time to help someone have a better peace of mind. I can guarantee that if you try any of the below efforts for a diabetic friend or loved one, you will not only make their day, but will also ensure that everyone is able to share the joy of a stress-free and relaxing holiday.

Before reading ahead, it’s important to understand that there isn’t really anything a diabetic can’t eat and that the responsibility is in their hands to exercise discipline and smart food choices based on their needs – so don’t stress too much!

For Type 1 Diabetics the focus is on the carbohydrate count of the foods they eat, whether that be oatmeal or ice cream. For Type 2 Diabetics and Gestational Diabetics, it depends person to person. If you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask if there is any food they’re trying to actively avoid and to work around that.

In any case, here are some super easy tips that will no doubt ease your mind and that of your diabetic guest – without any compromise on taste, enjoyment or indulgence!

 

  1. If you’re making a meal from scratch, aim for a meal full of vegetables. Water based vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, and carrot have a minimal effect on blood glucose. More starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas do have an effect on blood glucose, so keep these to a minimum, or serve them as side-dishes only (that way people can select their own portion size).

  1. If you’re serving anything processed or carbohydrate-dense from a wrapper, such as bread rolls, pasta, mince pies or alcohol/soft drinks, make sure to keep the wrapper, so that your diabetic guest can take a squiz at the nutritional panel to determine how much insulin they need to take to enjoy the meal. With drinks in particular, make sure you offer up some non-alcoholic or reduced-sugar options, especially lots of water.
  2. Most diabetics can and will want to eat dessert! Your best bet is to make dessert from scratch (see our recipe suggestions below!), however if you purchase a dessert, do make sure you’ve kept the wrapper! In either case, make sure that any sugar dense toppings, such as caramel sauces, are put in a bowl on the side for the diabetic. This way they can better monitor how much they consume.
  3. Lastly, anyone with a food allergy or dietary requirement will appreciate an opportunity to help contribute to the meal – so take them up on any offer made to bring a dish! This will remove any fear for your guest of ‘being a burden’ and will remove some of your own stress because now everyone will definitely have something to eat!

 

It’s also worth remembering that you shouldn’t be offended if your guest turns down any food you’ve offered – they will be exercising a great deal of willpower based on their own knowledge of what their body can handle, so don’t be overly generous with your encouragement for them to eat up. Let them dictate what they eat and how much they choose to eat, and keep your mind at ease knowing that you’ve done everything within your means to give them an enjoyable holiday occasion.

 

Still stuck? Here’s some simple food swap ideas and our favourite diabetic-friendly festive recipes:

Diabetic-friendly swaps:

  • Sub white rice for cauliflower rice and serve as side dish or the basis to your famous rice salad (blitz the stems and steam until soft)
  • Offer wraps alongside any bread rolls or baguettes (wraps have less carbs per serving than 2 slices of bread), or skip the bread entirely and dish up a simple side salad instead.
  • Adding a source of protein or dairy to any meal (by adding low GI foods to a meal, you can actually lower the GI of the entire meal)
  • Ditch the crackers and cheese and plate up some crunchy fresh veggie sticks with dips.
  • Substitute your ‘summer favourite’ ice cream with a lower sugar alternative to offer as a refreshing dessert. Check out our suggestion below using a Strawberry Noshu donut!

 

Diabetic-friendly recipes:

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