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Holiday Meal Planning

Holiday Meal Planning with Prediabetes (2021): Simple Holiday Eating Tips and Strategies

The holidays are a great time to catch up with friends and family. There’s only one problem – this time of year involves a lot of food! That’s why holiday meal planning AND holiday eating with Prediabetes is all about planning and being prepared!


There are two ways things can go this holiday season…you give up before you even start and let your waistline grow (and your blood sugar control go sideways)...

...or you make a decision, right now, that come January... 

  • You''ll be the same weight (or lower)
  • Your Hemoglobin A1C will be stable
  • You'll be proud of yourself for exercising some self control

Holiday Meal Planning With Prediabetes

There’s a simple way to make sure you’re still willing to look yourself in the mirror in January.

It’s called planning and deciding that you love yourself so much, you’re going to control yourself and think before you eat.

And it’s totally doable IF you think this through BEFORE the big meals happen and BEFORE the dessert tray comes around for the 10th time.

But first, a personal story.

Trying to eat healthy all on your own is too darn hard.

In the Healthy U Group we encourage each other to eat better...

I Have To Control Myself Too

Years ago, when we were first married, my husband and I dutifully headed to mother-in-law’s for a holiday week of eating and, well, more eating.

There was always a truckload of food everywhere, whether it was meal time or not.

Chocolates, home-made cookies, salads packed with marshmallows and sugar, sweet snack foods for movie night, a supper table so crammed with food there was barely enough room for the people to eat.

The food train literally never ended for 7 days!

The problem was, when we came back home to reality, I was always 5 pounds heavier.

AND it took me two months to lose that extra ‘holiday weight’.

Holiday Meal Planning and Prediabetes

After a few years of this I realized I had to exercise some self control and pre-holiday planning...and I did.

And from then on, I never came back home barely able to fit into my jeans.

But back to you and the holidays.

Just like I needed a plan to avoid weight gain – you do too.

Holiday meal planning and eating with Prediabetes is not hard if you know what you're getting into and if think about what is about to happen.

AND really when you boil it all down, there are 3 things we need to talk about so you don't gain weight or have blood sugar control problems this holiday season:

  • Which high calorie foods to avoid
  • What to do at holiday meals
  • What to do when it comes to holiday snacking

Which Foods To Avoid (too many calories)

Many holiday dishes and snacks are packed with hundreds and hundreds of calories.

Most people eat thousands of calories in ONE holiday meal! (not good)

AND many people ALSO eat hundreds and hundreds of calories at snack time! (also not good)

If you eat holiday meal after holiday meal with lots of extra calories, you're destined to gain weight AND make your Prediabetes much worse.

The good news is that avoiding the high calorie foods can make all the difference.

Avoid high calorie holiday foods

(or take VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY small portions)

High fat stuff means LOTS of calories: avoid gravy made with meat drippings, whip cream, butter, deep fried foods, cheese, fat on meat, dark meat, turkey skin, bacon, eating too many nuts, snack foods, pecan pie, mashed potatoes, most veggie or chip dips

mashed potatoes and gravy

One cup of mashed potatoes and gravy = 250 calories

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

One cup of baked macaroni and cheese = 375 calories

Pecan Pie

One serving of pecan pie = 500 calories

whipped cream

1-cup serving of whipped cream = 150 calories
(plus whatever you have the whipped cream on or in)

SUGARY STUFF means you're eating empty calories: avoid marshmallows, jello, cranberry sauce, chocolates, candied popcorn, candy canes, candy

candied popcorn

1-cup serving pf candied popcorn = 160 calories
1-cup serving of candied popcorn with nuts = 200 calories

One cup cranberry sauce  = 200 calories


One chocolate  = 50 calories

REFINED CARBOHYDRATES mean you're eating empty calories: avoid buns, rolls, bread, biscuits, regular pasta

dinner roll buns

One dinner roll = 100 to 200 calories

Drinking Calories is NEVER a good idea: avoid alcohol, sugary drinks, soda, eggnog, sugary coffee shop holiday drinks 

egg nog

One cup of egg nog = 250+ calories

coffee shop Christmas drinks

One coffee shop Christmas drink = 200 to 500+ calories

Know what to do but can't get yourself to keep doing it?

Our Healthy U Group gives you the accountability you need to stay on track...

10 Tips for Holiday Eating With Prediabetes: Meals

When you have Prediabetes, you have two priorities: avoiding weight gain and keeping your blood sugar under control.

If you follow these simple rules, you'll keep your calories under control and your blood sugar stable:

  1. Fill your plate once.
  2. Avoid the sugary stuff.
  3. Avoid the deep fried stuff.
  4. Eat lots of veggies.
  5. Don't let yourself get hungry or you'll overeat at meal time. Nibble on veggies and fruit until the big holiday meals start.
  6. Decide you will eat a small serving of dessert. Small = 4 bites. (Why eat dessert at all? Because being left out sucks...so just eat a little bit.)
  7. Don’t go blind into a holiday meal. Know what will be served. You might have to bring some food to keep your blood sugar stable.
  8. If you’re the host, plan the meal around your needs and ask your dinner guests to bring their favourites too.
  9. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes very unstable blood sugar and packs on extra calories you don't need.
  10. Go for a big walk after the big meal.
Exercise During The Holidays - Go For A Walk!

7 Tips for Holiday Eating With Prediabetes: Snacks

Snacking is a big problem during the Holidays. Many times you can eat a meal's worth of calories just from snacking alone!

If you snack like this often, you're guaranteed to gain weight and make your blood sugar control worse.

The good news is you can help keep your snacking under control by exercising some self control and being prepared:

  1. Limit yourself to one small plate at snack time. The more you eat for snacks, the less you should eat at meal-time.
  2. Focus on raw veggies, hummus, nuts, oranges or other fruit
  3. Avoid chips, crackers, crisps, pretzels, candy-coated popcorn and anything else that came from the junk food aisle.
  4. Avoid hanging around the snack table. Stay as far away from it as possible and keep a plate of healthy snacks with you.
  5. Going to a party with finger food? Eat a normal meal before you go. This way you won’t be famished and eat everything in sight.
  6. Avoid the syrupy coffee drinks and sweet snacks when the gang goes off for a coffee shop run.
  7. Shopping for presents doesn’t require eating! Eat a meal before you go shopping.

Holidays are a time to enjoy the company of those you love and care about. Having celebration meals are part of this. Having tea and snacks when you catch up with your Auntie is part of it too. And that’s ok. More food than you are used to is ok. And not eating all the food is ok too! It's ok to say, 'No thanks'. It's ok to not try every cookie, side dish, pie and snack.

It’s ok to be in control of what you eat.  

Are You Struggling With Trying to Eat Healthy and Getting Daily Exercise?

We can help you! Stop trying to be a hero and doing all of this by yourself! (you'll just get depressed and give up...)

Join our ladies-only Online Diabetes Prevention Healthy U Group today!

About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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