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Season’s Eatings – Staying Healthy During the Holidays – Karen Gesell, November 30, 2011

ayw 18:46:32:
What recipe do you suggest for low cal and low sugar cookies?
kdf 18:51:17:
do you know where I can find diabetic cookie recipies for the holidays?
dhooper 18:56:20:
If you have not been eating healthy (junk food, soda, etc...) should you try and just switch to a better diet or incorporate a healthier diet and taper off the bad food?
KarenG@Unity 19:00:22:
Welcome to the Unity Diabetes Online Community! I’m Karen Gesell, program coordinator for the Unity Diabetes Education Program. I’m so glad you could join us for our online chat today. Today I will share some advice on healthy eating during the holidays and answer as many of your questions as possible during our allotted time together.
KarenG@Unity 19:01:44:
Before we get started let me just tell you how we’ll address your questions and comments today. I'll answer questions one at a time, in the order that they are posted to the site. We’ll do our best to answer all of your questions within the hour. It may take a few minutes for me to type answers to your questions, so please stay logged-in to the chat to see my response, even if it takes a few minutes. And you might need to refresh every few minutes to keep up with the latest posts in the chat if you switch to another application on your computer. Let’s get started!
 KarenG@Unity 19:03:50:
 Hi Ayw I would try modifying an existing recipe by reducing the sugar and fat by 1/4 to 1/3.
 ayw 19:04:55:
 Do you recommend any sugar or carbohydrate substitutes?
 KarenG@Unity 19:04:56:
 Hi KDF, I would check out dlife.com or the American Diabetes Association for some great recipes.
 lwaecker 19:05:57:
 If you are trying to stay clear of diabetes you are not supposed to have white breads or high dairy products, correct? Or is that just a myth?
kdf 19:06:30:
Thanks Karen – I was also thinking about using something like Splenda while baking this year - any tips for that? Do the cookies turn out the same, anything to watch out for?
KarenG@Unity 19:07:14:
Hi Dhooper, Great question! I guess it would depend if you are an all or nothing kind of person, but I would gradually start to replace some of the junk food with healthier foods. It is best not to deny yourself of favorite foods but try to have them in moderation.
lwaecker 19:08:02:
They have glucose free foods now which could also help when trying to get rid of the junk food cravings.
dhooper 19:08:14:    
kdf 19:09:06:
@lwaecker -- What kinds of glucose free foods have you tried - anything stand out as tasting good?
KarenG@Unity 19:10:02:  
 Hi lwaecker, I would say that all foods can fit into a healthy diet but need to be consumed in moderation. It is always best to try to choose high fiber foods like whole wheat breads and low fat dairy.
 KarenG@Unity 19:11:38:
 Splenda and Truevia can be used in cooking and substituted into recipes one to one.
 lwaecker 19:11:39:
 A lot of the chips that say glucose free, chocolates, and different snacks are available throughout the stores. I go to a local store, Trader Joe’s, and they offer a list of glucose free foods which has quite a bit on it. Most stores, though, are either providing lists or the products have a 'g+' symbol on the packaging because so many people are going glucose free.
 lucyblue 19:12:26:
 lwaecker - Do you mean gluten free?
kdf 19:13:19:
Good to know about the Splenda...has anyone tried baking with it before? Will my kids like the taste?
lwaecker 19:13:23:
Haha that's the gluten symbol, you are right! But they do have glucose free ones as well. I know this because my friend is diabetic and has to shop with the specific list from Trader Joe’s.
kdf 19:14:48:
Thanks lwaecker - good tip!
lconn 19:16:05:
Do you have any recommendations for good, but diabetic-friendly punch for holiday entertaining?
KarenG@Unity 19:17:24:
A lot of people bake with Splenda and don't mind the flavor but keep in mind that portion count and so do calories!
KCMichelle 19:18:57:
I've baked with Splenda but I often find that it doesn't help me save a lot of carbs and calories. I do have a good punch recipe for the holidays! Diet cranberry juice, Diet 7-Up, and sherbet. I know the sherbet has a lot of carbs, but the other 2 items don't, so it ends up being pretty modest overall and everyone seems to like it. I don't have any exact measurements, but it always seems to come out OK.
KarenG@Unity 19:19:43:
Hi lconn, I would try Crystal Light and add sparkling water or diet ginger ale. You can also check out Crystal Light’s web site.
lconn 19:20:20:
Thanks for the punch ideas!
KarenG@Unity 19:20:27:
KC Michelle, Thanks for the great recipe and advice on carbs.
 lucyblue 19:21:04:
 Is it OK to put some rum in the punch or would that be a problem for diabetes control?
 kdf 19:21:21:
 @KCMichelle - That's good to know about the Splenda - is it more expensive to use that sugar too?
 KarenG@Unity 19:23:01:
 Hi Lucyblue, It is okay for a diabetic to have alcohol. It is recommended that women have 1 drink a day and men should limit to no more than 2 drinks a day. However blood sugar should be in good control.
 lucyblue 19:23:41:
 I find I have a hard time at parties and grazing on all the yummy appetizers and desserts...any ideas on how I can use more self control?
 kdf 19:25:18:
 I want to put together a special gift basket for a friend at work who has diabetes – everyone is getting food in theirs, so I want to do the same for her – what should I try?
KCMichelle 19:26:13:
Yes, the Splenda is definitely more expensive and I think it has a bit of an after-taste. I haven't used any of the other sugar subs for baking. To answer the alcohol question, I usually make the punch to feed everyone at my holiday parties, including the children. But, I have put in a little vodka before, and it tastes good. It doesn't have any carbs or sugar, but it has more calories.
KarenG@Unity 19:26:26:
Hi lucyblue, I would try using a smaller plate and avoid standing near the food table. Scope out the foods at the party and make a plan for what you will eat and then stick to the plan. If you go back for seconds only take small helpings of those foods you really like.
KCMichelle 19:28:27:
@lucyblue - I have found it helpful to have a small snack before I go to parties lately. That way I am not as hungry when I get there.
lucyblue 19:28:57:
Thanks KCMichelle - I like the idea of keeping it alcohol free for all to enjoy!
KarenG@Unity 19:30:02:
Hi KDF, You could try putting in specialty coffee or herbal teas, a gift card to Starbucks, sugar free candy or gum. How about non-food items like candles or a picture frame?
lucyblue 19:30:02:
Hey kdf - how about a nut assortment with some sugar free candy?
kdf 19:31:29:
Good ideas - thanks!
lconn 19:32:02:
What is a crowd-pleasing vegan recipe for an appetizer? I want to have healthy, vegan choices but also want it to appeal to everyone!
KCMichelle 19:32:19:
Oh yes I should make it clear that I keep it away from the kids when I put my vodka in it! But, when I do make it an "adult" punch, I leave out the sherbet. Instead, I put diet cranberry juice, vodka, and frozen fruit in a decorative Jello mold and freeze it. I add the frozen circular mold to a punch bowl full of Diet 7-Up and let the mold melt throughout the party. It is pretty, and tastes pretty good.
KarenG@Unity 19:33:22:
Hi lconn, You could try hummus with pita or veggies, edamame (soy beans), salsa and baked chips, roasted or grilled veggies or olive dip with whole grain baguette.
lwaecker 19:34:09:
That is a great punch idea! Also hummus and veggies are always a good snack.
lconn 19:34:45:
Yum! Thanks.
kdf 19:35:21:
Is it easy to make homemade hummus?
lucyblue 19:35:27:
What about weight gain over the holidays? Does anyone else struggle with this like I do?
KCMichelle 19:35:43:
@lconn – Search online for "Texas caviar" recipes. It's kind of like a fancy salsa for corn chips, and it is healthy and vegan. Bruschetta is always good too! And, as far as the question about the gift basket goes, have you considered putting in a gift certificate to a coffee place or something? I personally don't like getting food as gifts because I never know what's in it and it's usually more calories than I need.
 lucyblue 19:36:25:
 I love Texas caviar - great idea!
 lwaecker 19:36:49:
 I think we all struggle with that. I tend to try to at least do some cardio everyday or 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes to an hour. It is so important to keep that blood flowing. I also tend to eat lighter during the weeks while at work and always keep healthy snacks near me.
 lconn 19:37:10:
 Never heard of Texas Caviar before. I'll check it out. Thanks.
 lwaecker 19:37:24:
 Weight gain can happen so easily during the holidays, especially with all the holiday parties and comfort food during the cold weather.
 KarenG@Unity 19:38:04:
 Hummus is easy to make in a food processor or blender. Just add chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. And check out allrecipes.com which has a video on how to make hummus.
 lucyblue 19:38:11:
 Tell me about it! I do try and get a little exercise in, but I struggle with my portions. I find it hard to stop at a little.
 KCMichelle 19:38:36:
 Karen G - I like the edamame idea. I have heard that edamame makes a great lowfat "guacamole." Has anyone tried that?
 lucyblue 19:39:48:
 I think it's edamame - and yes, I love making dips with edamame - Alton Brown has a great edamame dip you can Google - it's listed as a Food Network recipe.
 KarenG@Unity 19:40:04:
 To avoid weight gain I would try to remain active. It is suggested that we aim for 30 min. of moderate activity 5 days a week. Exercise always seems to be put on the back burner during the Holidays.
 KCMichelle 19:40:15:
 Thanks lucyblue!
 lwaecker 19:40:19:
I usually buy hummus but making it would be so much healthier and better tasting I am sure! :) I have seen that lowfat guacamole though and it looks tasty. Also portion control is definitely hard but the more water you drink the fuller you will be but also you will feel a lot better as well. Try upping your water intake that might help you with portion control. It helps me sometimes. :)
 lucyblue 19:40:51:
 Great idea! I don't drink enough water as it is...
 KCMichelle 19:41:12:
 Has anyone tried any of the exercises on the exercise on demand cable channel? I hear people at work talking about it, but I have not checked it out yet.
 kdf 19:41:34:
 How much water should you drink per day?
 KarenG@Unity 19:41:59:
 Great idea about drinking more water and to make it taste better try adding a cucumber or fruit to the water.
 lwaecker 19:43:18:
 That is a great idea! I always hear adding lemon is good for metabolism but a cucumber or fruit would be a nice switch. Especially at holiday parties that would be a nice extra touch.
 lucyblue 19:44:02:
 Yes - very refreshing!
 KarenG@Unity 19:44:15:
 It is recommended that you drink about 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces. The best way to tell if you are hydrated is to check and see if the color of your urine is pale yellow.
 lucyblue 19:44:33:
 I haven't tried exercises on cable channel - is it like an aerobic workout? Or pilates?
 lconn 19:44:48:
 Squeezing orange into water adds nice variety too!
 KarenG@Unity 19:46:34:
 @KCMichelle, You will have to try out the exercise on demand and let us know how you like it.
 KCMichelle 19:48:52:
 @lucyblue - I think they have a variety of exercises you can select from on that channel. A girl at work says that there are family exercises on there that she does with her kids. I've also heard someone doing some sort of abs of steel routine. I am going to check it out.
KarenG@Unity 19:48:56:
Does anyone have any tips for staying active during the winter months?
lucyblue 19:49:44:
I like to walk the malls at holiday time - do some holiday shopping but also see all the displays. I also try to get my family and some neighbors to go holiday caroling one night - it's fun and festive.
kdf 19:50:46:
I always drag out my treadmill when the weather gets cold!
lwaecker 19:50:50:
That;s a great idea lucyblue! Walking the malls is always a great way to get the exercise you need but not necessarily think about it. Just be sure to stay away from the junk food. :)
lconn 19:51:11:
Hot yoga at Breathe Yoga is my favorite. Exercise, relaxation, and focus all at once.
KarenG@Unity 19:52:25:
Great idea lconn. That sounds great. I also like to go sledding. Walking up the hill burns a lot of calories!
kdf 19:52:36:
Where is Breathe Yoga?
KarenG@Unity 19:53:18:
I believe Breathe is in Pittsford, NY.
lucyblue 19:53:24:
Yes, walking up the hills when sledding is a great workout! Especially when you pull the kids up in the sled! :)
lconn 19:53:28:
There are 3 locations now: Pittsford, Webster, and a new location in Downtown Rochester.
lwaecker 19:53:33:
Sledding is a great idea too. We should take advantage of these winter months and the outdoors instead of staying in and gaining those holiday pounds.
lconn 19:53:59:
I love going ice skating with my 6 year old too. There is a great outdoor rink in Manhattan Square Park next to the Strong Museum.
KarenG@Unity 19:55:00:
Great idea lconn. Does anyone know of any other place to go skating?
lconn 19:55:44:
There is open skating at MCC's rink, RIT's rink, and Fairport Village Sports. The schedules are all online.
lucyblue 19:55:45:
There are some indoor rinks - I know there is one in Webster.
kdf 19:56:08:
Does yoga really burn calories - I've never tried it before.
lconn 19:58:12:
Yes, kdf, it really does. You'd think it's more relaxing. It depends on the instructor and type of yoga. I'm sore after every class and I go every week.
KarenG@Unity 19:59:27:
That’s all the time we have for today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and hope that I was able to provide some insight for you about healthy eating. If we didn’t get to your question today or if you think of another question later on – feel free to jump into the conversation in the forum, or submit a question using our “Ask an expert” feature. Be sure to join us for our next chat on Wednesday, December 14 at 7 p.m. when Sharon Spear will answer your questions about Managing Diabetes and Holiday Stress. Talk to you then.
ayw 19:59:44:
Thanks Karen!
lwaecker 20:00:09:
Thank you so much Karen! This was great and very informative. :)
kdf 20:00:36:
I agree - great info sharing.
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