Holiday eating is a challenge for everyone, even those who do not have diabetes. We associate the holidays with a "free pass" for overeating and overindulgence. If there is ever a time for Emotional Eating, the holidays is the number one culprit. People are more aware of Emotional Eating as something you do when you are mad or sad.. but it can also be when you are happy and celebrating. Holidays bring so many intense, mixed emotions for people. Now that you have diabetes, this will be a time to have a strategy for surviving the holidays without spiking your blood sugars... or gaining too much weight! Below I have recipes for REPLACEMENTS to the common foods we have. ( I am still updating this section so please bear with me! email me if you need something NOW at Donna@DonnaRock.com )
Breadless Holiday Stuffing
Stuffing is always my favorite part of holiday meals. But with all that bread, it will spike blood sugars and it really is not full of great nutrients. Instead REPLACING the bread with a healthier alternative, like garbonza beans (chick peas) is a great option! I was not convinced at first, but after I made it the first time, I was sold!
2 tablespoons grape seed oil ( better for high heat cooking. Olive oil should only be used with low heat)
1 (4 ounce) package sliced fresh organic mini portabello mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup diced celery
2 Italian Sausage links, fresh
1/3 cup diced red onion (organic if possible)
1/2 cup chicken broth (organic if possible )
2 (12 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (organic if possible)
1 egg (organic if possible)
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- Thoroughly cook sausage in pan. When cooked, drain extra grease and chop up into small pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet using LOW HEAT (or use Grapeseed oil which is better for high heat cooking) . Cook the mushrooms, garlic, celery, and onion in the olive oil 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth; cook and stir for 2-3 more minutes.
- Combine the garbanzo beans, egg, sage, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mash together with your hands until thoroughly mixed; stir in the vegetable mixture; transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes; remove the foil and bake uncovered another 10 to 15 minutes.
Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce
Please keep in mind that there are ways to prepare cranberry sauce with very little ADDED sugars, but cranberries themselves contain natural sugar. In one cup of whole cranberries (which is usually a serving) you will be eating 4g of sugar. Even though it is natural sugar, you still need to consider this as sugar when you are monitoring just how much sugar you are eating in a day. According to the American Heart Association, an average woman should eat NO MORE THAN 24g of sugar a day. They say this is added sugar, but in my experience working with people who have Diabetes, using this rule of thumb for TOTAL sugars (meaning from fruit also ) is more effective. This is a rule of thumb and everyone is different and the 24g per day is actually pretty high for many people.
1 12 oz bag fresh Cranberries (ideally organic)
x drops liquid stevia
¾ cup filtered water
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp vanilla extract
- Rinse cranberries.
- Put cranberries, water and orange zest in saucepan and bring to boil.
- Once water is boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries pop and are tender when you insert a fork.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Stir in a couple drops of liquid stevia. Test sweetness and add more as needed.
I had to dig pretty deep, but found this recipe from the website evermine.com. I want to mention that one major adjustment you should start making to eat healthier is removing bread from your meals…especially dinner. Bread is delicious, but it really is a filler, void of any vitamins or minerals.. and full of flour which will elevate blood sugars. A great replacement to this filler is a healthy hearty soup which can act as a filler too. But the great part is soups are usually made from veggies so that means you will be eating great vitamins while “filling up” too. Now, I know it is hard during the holidays to completely stay away from breads, so I found this REPLACEMENT which is pretty delicious! Some may disagree but it is worth trying!
3 eggs, separate whites and yolk
3 ounces reduced-fat/fat-free cream cheese OR 3 tablespoons sour cream or ricotta cheese or cottage cheese or thick yogurt
1/2 teaspoon Stevia (liquid)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of unrefined sea salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Spray a large baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl whip the egg whites using a beater along with the cream of tartar for 3-4 minutes – or until very stiff peaks form and they are almost turning dry.
- Set aside.
- With the same beaters, in a large bowl beat the cold cream cheese until smooth.
- Beat in the egg yolks, Stevia, and salt for 2 minutes until light yellow.
- Gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten.
- Fold in the remaining whites until all fluffs disappear, but be careful not to deflate them.
- Mound into desired sizes on the prepared baking sheet (or in a pizza pan, or muffin tins, or a mini loaf pan…whatever shape and size you want).
- Bake for 30 minutes – depending on size. Until they are a deep golden brown and crispy to the touch.
- Immediately loosen with a spatula and allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Low Sugar Pumpkin Pie
This is where I get frustrated because many of the recipes I found claimed to be sugar FREE and were on websites for people with diabetes. Yes, the recipe used sugar substitute but they omitted the fact that evaporated skim milk is LOADED WITH SUGAR! But not to worry! I researched substitute for evaporated skim milk and found you can make evaporated milk out of unsweetened almond milk. YAY! One other note, I titled this modified recipe as “LOW SUGAR” because the pumpkin puree does contain sugar. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking there is no sugar!
SERVINGS: Whole Pie
1 ½ cups Unsweetened Almond Milk ( to make sugar free evaporated milk)
1 9-inch pie shell
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree ( try to find a brand that does not have added sugar or artificial sweetener)
1-5 drops Liquid Pure Stevia Extract
- Preheat oven to 4250 degrees F.
Prepare dairy free and SUGAR FREE evaporated milk:
- Bring almond milk to boil.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer (about medium-low heat), and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
- In a medium bowl whisk together pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree and evaporated almond milk.
- Add 1-2 drops stevia and mix. Taste and add 1-2 drops if needed.
- When sweetness is to your liking, add the egg and stir until smooth.
- Pour mixture into pie shell.
- Place pie on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.
- Cool before serving.
Almond Milk Hot Cocoa
This recipe is also in the Beverages section, but since Hot Cocoa is popular during the holidays, I wanted to re-post this. When it is cold outside,or you are gathering around the fireplace with friends and family, it is really nice to enjoy a hot sweet tasting beverage! I actually found a way to make hot chocolate without the sugar! So enjoy this warm treat and your friends and family... without spiking your blood sugars!
8 oz (1 cup) Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 tsp unsweetened Baking Cocoa
2-3 drops Pure Stevia Extract
- Heat Almond Milk in Microwave or sauce pan (be careful not to boil).
- Add Cocoa and stir in.
- Add 2-3 drops Stevia to sweeten (make sure you get PURE stevia extract, with no other chemicals or ingredients. Studies have shown stevia will not raise blood sugar).
Faux Mashed Potato
Mashed potato is such a popular side dish in general, and especially during holidays. Unfortunately, even though potato is promoted as “healthy” it is a starchy vegetable which means it will spike blood sugars. Solution? REPLACE with vitamin packed cauliflower! Yes, I know, many people do not care for cauliflower. However… it is something that you should have an open mind to and try. It is really about finding the right recipes and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed! Here is a great recipe that you won’t even realize you are eating cauliflower, it is so delicious that even my kids love it!
Medium sized cauliflower (organic if possible)
1 tbsp roasted garlic cloves ( most grocery stores with a salad bar will have roasted garlic)
Or 1 tbsp minced garlic if cannot find roasted cloves.
1 tsp fresh chives or green onions, chopped
real bacon bits ( you can buy ready made REAL bacon bits to save time )
Unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp real butter
- Thoroughly clean cauliflower, using a knife to scrape off any dark spots.
- Cut cauliflower into small pieces and put on steamer basket
- Fill a pot with water and place steamer basket in pot. Water should be just high enough so that is at the same level as the bottom of the basket. (it is important not to boil it directly in water, otherwise it will be too watery) .
- Place cauliflower in basket and cover pot with lid. Turn heat to high until water boils.
- Lower heat, steam cauliflower until tender.
- When cauliflower is tender, remove from steamer basket and pat dry with paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Place drained cauliflower, roasted garlic cloves/minced garlic, butter and dash of salt and pepper in food processor/magic bullet and blend until it is the same consistency as mashed potato.
- If needed, add more butter or garlic or salt and blend again until you get the desired consistency and flavor.
- Serve, topped with bacon bits and chives/green onions.