Have a healthy holiday season

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‘Tis the season of family, celebration and lots of food!

Temptation seems to be everywhere — chocolates at the office, your mom’s favourite pie on the counter, and so many holiday buffets. How do you stick to your diabetes meal plan while everyone around you seems to be indulging? By following some of our tips below you can enjoy some holiday offerings and also keep your blood sugars in check.

Balance your plate, balance your blood sugars

Creating a healthy plate for your meals is the foundation for controlling blood sugars, especially during the holidays. Fill half your plate with veggies, ¼ with protein and ¼ with whole grains. This helps balance fibre, healthy fats and protein which are important in slowing down digestion and the release of sugar into your blood. During the holidays, try to eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If you’re eating later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.

Navigate the holiday food table

• Look at the whole buffet table before deciding what to put on your plate. Did you know when you put healthy foods on your plate first, it can improve overall meal selection? Give it a try!

• Pick one or two appetizers and then move away from the party table. Facing the buffet table can actually lead to more trips to fill your plate.

• Use a smaller plate. You can enjoy smaller portions of food and still be satisfied because the plate looks full.

• Load up on vegetables. Eat them first to take the edge off hunger and make sure they fill half your plate.

• Fit in your favourites. Remember all foods can fit. Be sure to slow down, savour every bite and make sure to count them in your meal plan.

• If you have a sweet treat, be sure to cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread, stuffing) during the meal.

• Lead by example. Bring a vegetable or fruit tray to your next holiday potluck, and watch it disappear. Short on time this month? Order a tray from your Sobeys produce department.

Stay Active

It’s all about balance. Have you found yourself indulging a little too often? Balance your extra intake by burning some calories. There are so many fun holiday activities you can enjoy with family and friends….or on your own if you are in need of some peace and quiet.

• Walk around your neighborhood to see the Christmas lights and decorations.

• Celebrate winter with activities that you can’t do any other time of year. Skating, skiing and snowshoeing are all great choices.

• Go sledding or build a snowman with the kids in your life.

• Walk a little more while you are Christmas shopping. Park farther away, take a few extra laps around the mall or stroll through the downtown streets.

Most of all, enjoy everything the festive season has to offer!

Hungry for more? Like @SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips & recipes or receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox! Register at www.sobeyspharmacy.com/newsletter.

Nutrition Events:

Join Teresa for her Secrets to Better Blood Sugars class. Learn practical ways to better manage your blood sugar and follow a healthy lifestyle.

• December 5 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Sobeys Aberdeen

• December 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Sobeys Westside

Contact Teresa to register at (902)-755-3645 or email Teresa.flynn@sobeys.com.

Zucchini Loaf with Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
1 cup 250 mL whole-wheat flour
1 cup 250 mL al-purpose flour
1 tbsp 15 mL baking powder
1 tsp 5 mL ground cinnamon
½ tsp 2 mL Salt
2 Eggs
¾ cup 175 mL plain 2% yogurt
½ cup 125 mL firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup 125 mL canola oil
1 tsp 5 mL vanilla extract
2 cups 500 mL grated zucchini (approx. 1 large zucchini)
½ cup 125 mL pumpkin seeds
½ cup 125 mL walnut pieces
1 tbsp 15 mL ground flaxseeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 9 x 5-in. (1.9 L) loaf pan. In large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogourt, brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in zucchini, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing top. Bake in centre of oven 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until top of loaf is golden brown and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

    Nutrition Information per Serving (1/12th of loaf):
    Calories 280, Fat 17 grams, Saturated Fat 2 grams, Carbohydrate 27 grams, Fibre 3 grams,
    Protein 7 grams, Sodium 210 milligrams
    Dietitian Tip: Nuts and seeds in this loaf give healthy fats and fibre with a great crunch.