How to Host a Di­a­betic

Do any of your Thanks­giv­ing guests re­quire a spe­cial diet? Take th­ese steps and they’ll have even more to ap­pre­ci­ate. JILL BUCH­NER

Reader's Digest (Canada) - - Contents - BY JILL BUCH­NER

THE THANKS­GIV­ING TA­BLE may be full of har­vest good­ies, but it’s also a bounty of car­bo­hy­drates, from stuff­ing to mashed pota­toes to pump­kin pie, which break down into glu­cose. For di­a­betes suf­fer­ers, those foods can lead to dan­ger­ously high blood su­gar. Here’s how to make sure your din­ner sat­is­fies both their palates and their health needs.

Give your guest space.

“When some­one is liv­ing with a chronic health con­di­tion, they can get self-con­scious about how peo­ple per­ceive their self-man­age­ment,” says Sally Ho, a cer­ti­fied di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor and reg­is­tered di­eti­tian at Mo­ti­vate Nu­tri­tion in Ed­mon­ton. While some peo­ple feel com­fort­able test­ing their blood su­gar in a group or giv­ing them­selves in­sulin at the ta­ble, oth­ers don’t. Di­rect them to a pri­vate space where they can take care of those needs.

Start fresh.

When it comes to ap­pe­tiz­ers, it might be time to give your beloved pumper­nickel bread and spinach dip a rest. Since the main course at Thanks­giv­ing tends to be carb heavy, veg­gies and dip,

re­duced-sodium pick­les and cheese are more bal­anced pre-din­ner al­ter­na­tives. Want to serve a hot starter? Con­sider stuffed mush­rooms.

Of­fer va­ri­ety.

Peo­ple with di­a­betes don’t need to cut out carbs en­tirely. Rather, they should en­joy them in mod­er­ate amounts, says An­drea Too­good, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian and cer­ti­fied di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor at Essence Nu­tri­tion and Well­ness Coach­ing in Regina. Pro­vid­ing a se­lec­tion of al­ter­na­tive choices, such as steamed green beans, roasted car­rots or a green salad, can help lighten the load.

Play with the clas­sics.

Too­good says puréed cau­li­flower is a great al­ter­na­tive to mashed pota­toes. While raw pota­toes pack 17 grams of car­bo­hy­drates for ev­ery 100 grams, raw cau­li­flower comes in at just three grams—and two grams of that is fi­bre, which the body doesn’t break down and con­vert into glu­cose. Re­mem­ber to let ev­ery­one know the main in­gre­di­ents in each dish so those who have var­i­ous di­etary re­stric­tions can en­joy ac­cord­ingly.

Stock the bar.

Re­mem­ber to keep a va­ri­ety of low-su­gar bev­er­ages on hand, in­clud­ing wa­ter, sparkling wa­ter and diet pop, says Ho. “Peo­ple who have di­a­betes know they should be mind­ful of al­co­holic drinks,” she says, ex­plain­ing that beer, wine and liquor can both raise and lower blood su­gar de­pend­ing on how it is con­sumed and when. It’s a good idea to have a bar set up where guests can mix their own drinks, giv­ing them con­trol over ra­tios.

Make some­thing sweet.

If your guest likes dessert, it’s a nice ges­ture to tailor a sweet dish to their needs. While Ho says reg­u­lar desserts are fine in small por­tions, you can also try bak­ing with su­cralose (com­monly known as Splenda), which is heat sta­ble and doesn’t raise blood su­gar. An­other op­tion: fresh fruit.

Walk it off.

Thanks­giv­ing isn’t just about food; it’s about en­joy­ing time to­gether, says Too­good. One of the best ways to do that might be to plan a post-din­ner ac­tiv­ity, such as a stroll to en­joy the au­tumn colours and fresh air. “It helps the per­son burn the car­bo­hy­drates or sug­ars they’ve eaten,” she ex­plains.

Show re­spect.

Both Too­good and Ho stress that your guest knows what’s best for them. Don’t pres­sure them into hav­ing sec­onds or try­ing dessert, or pass judg­ment if they choose to eat a lot of sweets. “That’s not help­ful,” says Ho. “Guests are re­spon­si­ble for their own health.”

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