Last updateTue, 19 Sep 2017 5pm

Food & Wine

Keep the holidays happy: simple tips for healthy holiday eating

Cookies, cake and candy. Many Americans come face-to-face with temptation this time of year as they attend parties and family gatherings in honor of the holiday season. Sugary treats and hefty portions abound, so people living with diabetes or other health problems need to be especially vigilant about healthy eating during the holidays.

"Rich foods and holiday-related stress contribute to the challenge of maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels and exercise routines during the holidays," said Dr. Fouad R. Kandeel, director of the City of Hope Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes and Genetic Research Center in Los Angeles. "People step out of their usual daily schedules and tend to either forget or ignore the dietary and lifestyle guidelines for people living with diabetes."

Maintain your diet this holiday season by keeping track of what and how much you eat and making time for a consistent exercise regimen. Additionally, you can try healthier adaptations of traditional holiday recipes that reduce sugar, fats and carbohydrates. Some simple substitutions include using nonfat plain yogurt in place of sour cream, fat-free milk rather than whole milk and nonnutritive sweeteners instead of sugar.

Here are two suggested recipes that are great for holiday get-togethers:

Frozen Pumpkin Supreme

Yield: 16 servings

Serving size: 1/3 cup and 1 gingersnap cookie

1 quart sugar-free vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice and ½ teaspoon ginger)

15 gingersnap cookies

Soften ice cream at room temperature for 10 minutes. Mix in pumpkin and spices until well blended. Spoon into 16 custard cups. Wrap well in plastic wrap. Freeze. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving each custard cup with one gingersnap cookie.

Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate

Total carbohydrates: 16 grams

Calories per serving: 80

Holiday Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Yield: 7 servings

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

12 ounce jar water-packed roasted red peppers, drained

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

2 peeled garlic cloves

2 tablespoons drained capers

Place roasted red peppers, parsley and garlic into a blender. Blend to a moderately smooth consistency. Fold in capers. Serve with fresh vegetables or Melba rounds.

Exchanges: free

Total carbohydrates: 0 grams

Calories: 6

For more information about diabetes research and treatment at the City of Hope Gonda Diabetes Center, call (800) 826-HOPE or logon to www.cityofhope.org.

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