Handling the Holidays Twitter Chat

Thanks everyone who participated in Monday’s Twitter chat. The transcript is up here.  We hope to host more chats after the New Year; if you’d like to suggest a topic, e-mail us at

Join us on Monday, December 10 from 12-1pm (EST) for a Twitter chat on healthy eating during the holidays.  Katie Andrews MS (Nutrition Communication), Dietetic Intern will again be leading the discussion and answering questions from the audience.

If you’d like to submit a topic for discussion, please e-mail (note: this chat is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice.  For any personal health questions, contact your healthcare provider).

The hashtag for this chat is #MGHDSME.  You can also follow us on Twitter: @MGHDiabetesEd

If you missed our chat back in October, you can read a transcript here.

Guest Post, My Story

Taming Holiday Temptation

By Monica

nuts and nutcracker. Photo credit:  Mike Coombes

The holidays are here.  It’s hard to not be tempted to eat a tasty pastry when there are so many holiday lunches at work and parties to go to.  I have a few suggestions for warding off holiday temptations that have worked for me—and they might work for you too! 

First, if you’re out shopping and know you’re going to a lunch party later, try to hold off on buying a pastry in the morning.  Sometimes not seeing the treat anymore can take away your craving.  So for instance if you’re in the supermarket facing a large display of cakes and pastries and starting to feel tempted, just walk away.  Go to the produce section and get a healthy snack like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts—that can help take away cravings too. 

But what if you’re baking at home?  All the ingredients are out on the counter and the kitchen smells delicious—how do you keep from being tempted then?  What I usually do is leave a small bowl of dried fruit and nuts on the kitchen table so when we’re doing our baking at my house, there’s a healthy snack in easy reach to help take care of my cravings.  This is good for other times when you’re at home and need a snack, too.  You can also put a bowl of hazelnuts (or other type of nut still in the shell) out along with a nut cracker.  Cracking open nuts before you can eat them makes you slow down so there’s no repetitive, mindless eating.  You also need to chew longer which can help you feel full faster so you eat less.  I also find cracking open the nuts myself is therapeutic because all your attention is focused on what you’re doing. 

Finally, I’m not going to say you can’t ever have pastry.  But, if you do decide to eat a holiday treat, go lightly and have just a small piece.  Have a good holiday!

(Photo credit:  Mike Coombes)

Treats and Feasts

By Suzanne Russell-Curtis, RD, CDE
Bulfinch Medical Group   

Often when given the diagnosis of Diabetes, an individual immediately thinks of food and all the enjoyment of eating that will be lost due to the disease. This can be a very difficult time of year for anyone who thinks this way. Well, I have some good news for all of you, it’s not true! You can enjoy celebrating with family and friends.

Two out of 3 Americans are overweight and many are trying to lose weight or prevent the return of excess pounds. Talk with your loved ones about the need to stay on track throughout the holiday season. They love you and will support you with this goal (and many may be watching their diet as well). Work together with your family to modify that traditional sweet potato casserole, try baked sweet potato without the extra sugar and marshmallows.  Split a dessert with someone.  Make a pact to play a game of flag football after the turkey and take a walk after any large feast. Remember the holidays are about celebrating with family and friends— not with the apple pie and stuffing (they don’t make you laugh).

Here are some tips for modifying traditional recipes/cutting back on calories:

Mashed potato with cream and butter –> Mashed potato with low fat milk and margarine, or a baked potato (eat the skin to add fiber)

Green bean casserole —> Steamed fresh or frozen green beans

Stuffing —> Make it with whole wheat bread

Cranberry Sauce —> Fresh cranberries

Turkey leg —> Skinless turkey breast

Basting turkey in its own juices –> Basting it with low sodium vegetable broth

Cocktails —> Diet ginger ale with splash of grenadine for a cocktail, glass of red wine with dinner **

Appetizers —> One small plate and walk away

“Little sliver” of all the desserts —> Split 2 small desserts or cut back on how many pies, cookies, etc are made

** Be careful with alcohol consumption. Talk with your doctor before alcohol intake. If cleared: male- 2 drinks/day, female- 1 drink/day and NEVER drink on an empty stomach. Drink with a well balanced meal.

Photo credit: Joel R. Terrell