We want to give you our FarmboxRx-approved guide to a diabetes-friendly holiday season. No matter what diet-related restrictions you may have, you can still relish in the savory tastes during this notable eating season with a few simple tips. The key to diabetes-friendly holidays is to manage and monitor your blood sugar levels as best you can. You can still indulge in many of your favorite foods, however, you must take timing and portion sizes into control to have happy, healthy holidays.
Diabetic-Friendly Holiday Tips
- Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (brussels sprouts, greens, mushrooms, etc.,) fill a quarter with nutritious starches (potatoes, squash, brown rice, etc.,) and a quarter of your plate with lean protein sources (turkey, fish, chicken, beans, etc.)
- Exercise to improve how your body manages its blood sugar levels. Try to get into a routine of jumpstarting your metabolism in the morning by engaging in some light exercise. And if possible, go for a light walk after eating so that your body gets a chance to move. After you eat, blood sugar (glucose levels) increase, and by exercising shortly after a meal, you may help activate insulin (the hormone that helps with blood sugar management,) and thus, decrease excessive blood sugar levels.
- Take regular medications and monitor your blood sugar levels as directed by your healthcare provider. The key to healthy diabetes management is consistency, and this becomes especially important during the holidays when eating is often the main event.
- Work with your doctor or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist on figuring out your specific needs regarding both carbohydrate and insulin intake (that is, if you are on insulin.) In general, most adults with diabetes should aim for about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-20 grams per snack.
- Eat well-balanced snacks before the big meal to avoid overeating and unnecessary blood sugar spikes. A balanced snack includes a protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat source to keep you satiated and your blood sugar levels stable. Try cucumber slices and hummus, or cheese and whole-grain crackers.
Starchy Foods & Diabetes
As you may know, all vegetables contain some carbohydrates. Vegetables are categorized as starchy or non-starchy. Non-starchy vegetables have a small amount of starch and include produce like: asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, leafy greens, onion, summer squash (yellow, zucchini), and tomato to name a few.
Starchy vegetables as their name implies have more starch, but they still have a lot of nutrients. Common starchy vegetables are potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash (acorn or butternut).
Why are starchy foods bad?
Most nutritionists believe that those with diabetes should stay away from starchy foods, especially processed carbs that contain added sugars like white bread, white rice, pasta, and baked goods. This is because starchy foods are prone to raising blood glucose levels to a range that is not safe for people with diabetes as well as contributes to weight gain. At FarmboxRx we carefully curate our diabetic boxes to be mindful of starchy produce to help those monitoring blood sugar levels.
Diabetes-Friendly Fresh Produce Box
FarmboxRx offers a diabetic-friendly fresh produce box that features a beautiful, hand-picked selection of fresh fruits and vegetables with no starchy produce to help stabilize blood sugar levels with more fiber intake. Let’s dive into what you can find inside this specially curated box.
So one thing that you’ll find in your box is a gorgeous bunch of carrots. Carrots are considered a non-starchy vegetable by the American Diabetes Association and contrary to popular belief, they won’t raise your blood sugar. Another non-starchy veggie included in your Farmbox is a big bunch of green beans. They’re filled with fiber and are low on the glycemic index. You can also look forward to having big, beautiful brussels sprouts. Fun Fact: these guys, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are all from the same family of cruciferous veggies. They have some natural crunch to them and are delicious when roasted.
Up next we typically include either broccoli or cauliflower, which are both great when steamed or even made into a soup or mash. These two are great for people with diabetes because they are low in starch, but still filling and satisfying. That’s key when introducing new foods into the diet. When you want a light, refreshing snack, you can cut up the celery stalk into sticks for pairing with hummus or guacamole. Celery also makes for very savory juices because of its natural saltiness. Celery helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized and is super low calorie!
For those who crave natural sources of flavor in their cooking, onions are always a good staple to have on hand for providing a base to many recipes. They have lots of antioxidants too, which fight inflammation in the body. Look for onions in your diabetes-friendly produce box, along with bell peppers. Did you know that there is actually more vitamin C in this pepper than in an orange? Grill them, add them to salads or stir-fries, peppers are super versatile.
In most of our boxes, you can count on finding leafy greens because greens are essential to the human body. Green veggies are filled with all of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to be healthy. We also offer zucchini and different types of squash throughout the year. Squash is flavorful and bakes well with other veggies, or on its own. Use any of your favorite spices and you can grill, steam, bake, and stuff them, or even turn them into the base of a soup recipe.
Tomatoes, avocados, and asparagus are a few other pieces of produce that we include in this box. All of these veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The fiber is really key here, especially for keeping blood sugar levels under control by helping to slow down the body’s absorption of glucose.
There you have it guys! Some of the fresh produce you’ll find in our diabetic-friendly produce box to help maintain stable blood sugar levels. We hope you found our tips helpful, and we wish you a wonderful holiday season. Happy eating everyone!