While diabetics and those with high blood pressure live with their conditions year-round, holidays can be particularly difficult, according to the Estee Corp., a manufacturer of foods reduced in sugar, fat and sodium.
However, with some planning, hosts can prepare foods that diabetics and hypertensives can enjoy, as well as others who are watching their diets.
"Psychologically, it's very important for those on supervised diets not to feel set apart from others because of special dietary needs," says Darlene Allen, a registered dietitian with Estee. "When activities center around food, like those around Christmas, this alienation can become more pronounced."
Foods such as cookies and candies can be worked into a supervised diet, Allen says. The key to preparing foods that everyone can indulge in is to read labels and look for prepackaged foods or mixes that are low in sugar, fat and sodium.
If your holiday guest list includes someone on a supervised diet, Allen recommends the following:
--Be aware of the "hidden ingredients" in foods. Sauces, salad dressings, crackers, punches and condiments can all contain high levels of sucrose, sodium and fat.
--Holiday gelatin molds, brownies, cookies and cakes don't have to be eliminated if you and guests are watching your diets. The diet section of the supermarket can now offer sugar-free, low-sodium, low-fat versions of these holiday foods that all guests can enjoy.
--If there's a diabetic on the guest list, you don't have to eliminate chocolate from the menu. Sucrose-free milk chocolate candy bars, peanut butter cups and chocolate-covered raisins are available.