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Festive season healthy eating tips:

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We asked Maryke van Zyl, the dietician for Woolworths, for some healthy eating tips for the festive season. Here’s what she had to say!

1.    Do you have any tips for diabetics going to parties over the festive season? What to eat and what to avoid?

  • Firstly, remember that its not about quantity, but about quality! When having the odd Christmas treat, portion control is key.
  • Secondly, take full advantage of the wonderful summer weather we have in South Africa. Its much easier going for a lighter, al fresco type Christmas lunch or dinner with lots of salads, fish, lean meats and fresh fruit.
  • When choosing party snacks stick to vegetable based snacks like carrot, tomato and cucumber with dips; grilled protein options like chicken strips, turkey strips, sashimi or fish; and fresh fruit;  plain sandwich options with vegetable or lean meat options.
  • Limit or avoid the intake of pastry based foods e.g. pies, quiches, samoosa’s, spring rolls and battered  – or deep fried options. Also go slow on creamy, cheesy or oily options.

2.    Is there a way to make traditional Christmas dinner (turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding etc) healthier for those with diabetes?
For sure! Turkey meat is very lean, as long as you stick to the white meat and skip the stuffing or fatty bits. As most Christmas sauces are quite high in sugar (like cranberry or apple sauce), keep portions small.
Always ensure that your Christmas meal includes leafy vegetable salads or vegetables – the bulk of your meal should consist of it!  And if you want some Christmas pudding, stick to a small portion and skip the roast potatoes or rice at your main meal; this way you will be able to better control the total carbohydrate intake at your meal and therefore better control blood sugar levels.
Or even better – try some of the healthier Christmas dessert ideas below…

3.    What are your favourite healthy party snacks?
Sushi! Especially sashimi. Woolworths also stocks wholegrain mini rice crackers – these topped with hummus, sundried tomato strips and avocado is another healthier snack idea. Other options include:

  • Vegetables strips with low fat tzatziki or red pepper hummus.
  • Prawn skewers with a sweet chilli and fat free plain yoghurt dip

4.    What drinks should diabetics choose over the party season?
Options that are low in alcohol – wine spritzers, lite beer or wine and spirits with soda. Avoid mixes, cocktails and sweet wine options – these are high in calories, alcohol and sugar.  And always remember to have something to eat before having a drink.

5.    What one New Years Resolution would you recommend for those with diabetes?
To always have a healthy attitude towards life! And live every day to the fullest.

Diabetic Christmas Dessert Ideas

  • Berries:

Serve Woolworths low-fat plain yoghurt with a mixture of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries and other fruits, garnished with frozen fresh cherries as a low fat and lower carbohydrate dessert.

  • Apple crumble– the healthy version

•    Unsweetened canned pie apples
•    Ground cinnamon
•    Woolworths Low GI Apple & Cinnamon Baked Muesli

Take a small oven proof dish or ramekin and fill with ¼ cup unsweetened pie apples, dusted with some ground cinnamon and topped with ½ a packet of muesli. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with 2 Tbsp of low fat custard.
Serving: One ramekin per person

  • Chocolate…..

What better way to end off a meal than with a piece of chocolate? This is a better ‘dessert’ option as the portion is controlled and it helps to satisfy the sweet craving!
•    One or two pieces of Woolworths Dark Chocolate Glace Orange Peel, or
•    One Dark Chocolate Liqueur Soaked Cherry, or
•    Two blocks of Organic Dark Chocolate

*Remember to only have a small portion of dessert after a meal that consist of mainly protein and vegetables, with very little carbohydrate.

Happy festive feasting!

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