Dinner Time With Diabetes

The holiday season is quickly approaching and with this brings along all the indulgent family meals and decadent desserts. However, navigating dinner time with diabetes does not have to be a chore. So often the feelings of being overwhelmed and possibly stressed over eating during holiday dinners quickly arises as you may not have a clear plan for how to build your plate or regarding which foods to incorporate onto your plate. Don’t let these feelings or thoughts stop you from enjoying a wonderful meal with your loved ones. Here are our tips for navigating dinner time with diabetes:


Importance of balancing your blood sugar


Maintaining good blood sugar balance is essential to feeling your best throughout the day. When your blood sugar levels fluctuate during the day from very low to high, you may experience:


  • Tiredness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision


All these symptoms of unbalanced blood sugars are often not desired when you are catching up with your family at the dinner table. When we have stable blood sugar, our bodies are able to feel their best.  


How to build a better plate


One of our personal favorite ways to build a better plate is by using the MyPlate as a guide! If you haven’t heard of the MyPlate before, it is a quick and easy way to visualize how to structure your meals using the different food groups of fruits, grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy. You’ll notice that about half the plate is full of fruits and vegetables while the other half is full of grains and protein. This breakdown and combination of the different foods will also allow you to have better blood sugar control. When you combine foods from the grains, fruits, or vegetable groups with a protein it will allow for slower digestion of the carbs and may help to prevent spikes in your blood glucose levels. 


For example, when you have a meal of honey baked ham, creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, and cornbread stuffing, the ham is the protein source and will help prevent blood sugar spikes. Oftentimes, family dinner buffets are loaded with a variety of delicious options that are mainly carbs. However, it is important to know you can still indulge in these foods and by combining them with your favorite protein such as ham, turkey, or even beans that can help you better control your blood sugar levels. 

A visual guide to portion sizes


How many times have you heard ½ cup and have not been able to properly visualize what it may look like? Visualizing portion sizes can sometimes be challenging, but we are here to help! Here are some quick and easy ways to remember your portion sizes:


  • 1 baseball = 1 cup of cooked vegetables such as green beans
  • 1 deck of cards  = 3 ounces of meat such as ham, turkey or chicken
  • 1 tennis ball = ⅓ cup of cooked pasta or rice
  • 1 computer mouse = 1 baked potato
  • 1 CD = 1 slide of bread
  • 3 dice = 1 ½ ounces of cheese


Ready to serve


Now you are ready to take on your next family dinner! When it comes time to build your next plate make sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind to help balance your blood sugars! Confidently serve your plate with a variety of foods from different food groups and enjoy spending time with your family this holiday season.