During the holiday season, there seems to be countless tempting foods and beverages wherever you go. Making healthy choices can be a challenge unless you are well-prepared and armed with the facts. Discover healthy diabetes beverages with holiday spirit that will help you combat the temptation of this food-centric season.
- Alcohol is often one of the biggest temptations around the holiday season. It seems like everyone is drinking and it is natural to want to join them. If you decide to have an alcoholic beverage, make sure to have something to eat first or while drinking to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia. Choose a cocktail that isn’t filled with empty calories such as a 12-ounce light beer, a mixed drink with 1.5 ounces of spirits or a low-calorie mixer such as water, club soda or diet soda or a 5-ounce glass of wine or champagne. You can extend your beverage intake by mixing 1 or 2 ounces of red or white wine with club soda or calorie free sparkling water to make wine spritzers. Avoid spiked eggnog, drinks with multiple spirits and creamy drinks with liquors. Be mindful of portion sizes and stay away from jumbo cocktails that are sure to contain too much alcohol and calories. Consider a champagne punch mixed with diet fruit juice (5-10 calories per serving) and ice cubes filled with fresh cranberries or edible flowers. These are easy to make by adding the edible flowers or cranberries to the ice tray prior to freezing. It will be festive, fun and decorative.
- There are many choices of flavorful cold beverages that offer no guilt or fear of blood sugar fluctuations. Serve them at home or bring them to a holiday party so you know you’ll have something good to sip on during the celebration. Consider sugar-free, flavored sparkling water served over ice in a fancy glass. Flavored calorie-free sparkling water is refreshing with a slice of watermelon, lime or orange, or a spring of fresh mint for a holiday treat. Consider sugar-free or low-sugar fruit and vegetable juices, but make sure to watch the carbohydrate content and calories. Drink low-sodium vegetable juice with a lemon slice, 2 olives or a celery stick while the others drink Bloody Mary’s at brunch. Read the labels on these juices to determine what fits into your diabetes food plan. Get diet soda and add ice cube holiday shapes (get at kitchen/big box stores) to serve while everyone else is sipping on sugary beverages. Look for festive flavors such as cranberry, cherry or root beer.
- Hot beverages are another source of temptation during the holiday season. Hot chocolate is irresistible, but can be chock full of sugar, fat and calories. Look for a low-sugar, dark chocolate instant hot cocoa mix. Consider making your own with dark chocolate powder or melted dark chocolate, low-fat or skim milk and Stevia or a sugar substitute. Dark chocolate is a better choice because it has fewer calories and provides healthy antioxidants. Add a dollop of homemade whipped cream, made from light cream and sugar substitute. Toss a spring of fresh mint into the cocoa for a holiday-friendly minty flavor that helps you stay away from sugar-laden candy canes and peppermints. Another option is to heat up low-sugar/reduced calorie apple juice instead of having regular hot apple cider. Serve in a holiday mug or copper cup with a cinnamon stick or sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the warmed apple juice. Put out a platter of sugar-free cookies to enjoy for dessert and help prevent you from diving into the seemingly endless supply of fattening pies, pastries and cakes.
You can choose from plenty of tantalizing holiday beverages when you have diabetes. Planning ahead and having the right beverages on hand helps you stay away from poor choices. From cocktails to fancy sparking drinks and hot beverages, you can have everything you want without the worry of blood sugar spikes!