Holiday season is filled with family gatherings and friendly celebrations that come with a lot of tasty, filling, and — let’s face it — not so healthy food. While indulging is perfectly okay for the soul, it can wreak havoc on our system on the short and long term. If you want to be kind to your body during festivities, making sure you don’t spike up your blood sugar levels is one the best things you can do. Apart from headaches, tiredness, and general inability to focus, hyperglycemia can also mess with your hormones, lead to weight gain, and increase your chances of getting diabetes. However, avoiding what causes these symptoms may seem easier said than done! We get it. After all, if sugar and spice make everything nice, sugar and fat make holiday dinners extra nice.
That said, we do believe (and know!) that certain foods that are already part of the celebrations can significantly help lower your blood sugar levels. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, you should load up your plate with these 7 delicious holiday-friendly foods and recipes from the Food Monster App that will make sure you start the new year feeling your best!
Packed with B-vitamins, iron, selenium, and essential amino acids, beans and lentils are not only nutritious but also great for stabilizing your blood sugar levels this holiday season. Their high content in fiber and protein slows down the release of sugars in the bloodstream and ensures that we feel satisfied which helps in not over-indulging in sweets once meal time is over.
Not sure how legumes fit in your holiday feasts? This Lentil Loaf With Smoked Paprika Glaze (pictured above), this Lentil Loaf and Celery Root Mash, these BBQ Lentil Balls, and this Mushroom Lentil Shepherd’s Pie are all festive and delicious recipes that will convince anyone to ditch the old-fashioned meat loaf!
If you’ve been looking for the perfect side dish to fill your plate with to help stabilize your blood sugar, whole grains are where it’s at! Hearty, filling, and versatile, whole grains are a good source of amino acids and fiber but also contain nutrients such as magnesium and chromium that are involved with regulating glucose in our body and preventing sugar cravings.
Want to get on the whole grains bandwagon this holiday season? You won’t regret it with this delicious Farro Risotto (pictured above), this Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberry, Apricot and Scallion, this Mushroom and Butternut Squash Millet Pilaf, and this Stuffed Squash With Quinoa Pilaf. You can also check out these 15 Rich, Creamy, and Dairy-Free Risottos For Your Holiday Dinner.
Moist, rich, and healthy, sweet potatoes are a must-have for your holiday table. As an appetizer such as these Sweet Potato Bites With Guacamole and Cauliflower, pictured above, or as a side like this Shepherdess Pie, sweet potatoes are a great option when it comes to managing your blood sugar because they are lower on the glycemic index compared with white potatoes. This means that they won’t spike your blood sugar as much. Little tip: leave the skin on as the extra fiber also helps slow down the sugars and their effect on your body.
Want to find more sweet potato recipes that are appropriate for the holidays? We suggest giving these Holiday Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, this Holiday Sweet Potato Bake, this Easy Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Topping, and this Baked Sweet Potato With Chive Cream and Cucumber Salad a try.
Eating a side of beets with your holiday meal will do more than just add a beautiful splash of color to your plate, it will help prevent your blood sugar from spiking. Studies show that consuming beetroot can improve insulin response and endothelial functions due to their content in bioactive compounds such as nitrates and polyphenols.
We suggest including this delicious earthy root in your holiday feast by making this Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad With Ginger Dressing (pictured above), this Roasted Beetroot and Ginger Chutney, this Roasted Beets and Kale Salad with Horseradish Crema and Hazelnuts, and this Golden Beet Panzanella.
Cranberries are a mainstay during the holidays and that’s a good thing as these red berries add a festive pop of color and contribute to stable blood sugar levels. Phytochemicals found in cranberries such as anthocyanins and other flavonoids are thought to contribute to decreased lipid oxidation and glycosylation which are both processes directly linked with how our body metabolizes sugars. This effect brings lower fasting glucose levels and a diminution in diabetes symptoms.
Need ideas on how to use cranberries? Check out this Festive Cranberry Sauce (pictured above), this Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce, this Raw Cranberry Chutney, and this Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Pine Nut Stuffing. You can also Go Beyond the Sauce! With These 10 Amazing Recipes With Cranberries!
Though they are small, these red rubies pack a lot of benefits when it comes to our metabolism and blood sugar levels. Pomegranates contain a range of antioxidant compounds that have been found to decrease significantly fasting blood glucose levels. Punicalagin and ellagic, gallic, oleanolic, ursolic, and uallic acids, especially, have positive effects on biochemical processes related to markers of diabetes. Whether you’re diabetic or not, adding a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds to your side dishes, mains, or desserts this holiday season is bound to be a good idea!
If you’re looking for creative ways to include pomegranate in your recipes, check out this Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower With Maple-Pomegranate Vinaigrette (pictured above), these Spiralized Butternut Squash Noodles With Asparagus, Cashews, and Pomegranate, this Pomegranate and Hazelnut Moroccan Grain Salad, this Warm Fennel and Pomegranate Salad, and this Spaghetti Squash With Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate. You can also try out this Pomegranate Coconut Panna Cotta With a Chocolate Balsamic Reduction and this scrumptious Raw Mint Pomegranate Cake for a healthy treat that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Although their color fits with Christmas decor, green vegetables aren’t typically the star of the plate when it comes to holiday dishes. That’s a shame if you ask us! Not only are all green vegetables packed with beneficial fiber but they also contain vitamins and minerals that help manage our blood sugar levels. Spinach and other leafy greens, by example, contain a high amount of antioxidants called polyphenols, vitamin C, and magnesium which all contribute to a healthy sugar metabolism.
Want to find festive recipe ideas featuring vibrant green veggies? We suggest making these Cranberry Almond Green Beans (pictured above), these Savoy Cabbage Rolls, this Kale and Pumpkin Salad, this Snap Pea Salad With Almonds in an Herbed Vinaigrette, and these Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Maple-Mustard Glaze. You can also try any of these delicious 25 Hearty Winter Vegan Salad Recipes.
Roasted Cranberry Stuffed Squash/One Green Planet
Worried about eating healthfully throughout the holiday season and managing your blood sugar in general? Here are a few articles that might interest you:
- Important Nutrients for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels, Especially for Diabetics
- How to Help Stabilize Your Blood Sugar Better Throughout the Day
- 5 Ways to Improve Blood Sugar Control Naturally and Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
- How to Build a Meal to Benefit Your Blood Sugar
- 3 Healthy Sugar Substitutes for All Your Holiday Treats
- Recipes for The Ultimate Vegan Christmas Menu: From Meatless Pies to Dairy-Free Cakes
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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