The Best Low-Glycemic Food Picks for Special Occasions

A low-glycemic diet doesn't restrict your food choices too much for special occasions. In fact, because a low-glycemic lifestyle is all about moderation, you can rest easy knowing that having a few medium- to high-glycemic items once in a while won't ruin your efforts.

Whether you're at a holiday gathering, on vacation, or at a party, you can almost always find some good choices.

Low-glycemic picks for holidays

The fall and winter holidays are often the most challenging time for many people working toward a health goal such as weight loss. The core culprit? All those goodies just hanging around at work and at home. However, when you really look at it, many holiday meal items work beautifully with your low-glycemic diet. Here are some top picks for the holidays:

  • Halloween:

    • Pumpkin dip

    • Pumpkin soup

    • Pumpkin seeds

    If it's not Halloween to you without a little candy, Peanut M&M's and Dove dark chocolates are medium- to low-glycemic. They're still high in calories, though, so just eat a little bit to avoid overdoing it.

  • Thanksgiving:

    • Turkey

    • Green beans

    • Tossed greens salad

    • Pumpkin pie

    Of course you want stuffing and mashed potatoes too. Go ahead and indulge that craving; just have a smaller portion of each one.

  • Christmas:

    • Roast beef

    • Turkey

    • Seafood

    • Tossed greens salad

    • Roasted vegetables

    • Pumpkin pie

    Desserts are probably the biggest challenge at Christmas. Pick your favorite and enjoy, but try not to nibble on treats all day.

  • Hanukkah:

    • Brisket

    • Roasted chicken

    • Applesauce

    • Salad

    Latkes are probably the biggest temptation during this holiday. Either eat a small amount or try to make vegetable latkes to provide a different spin on the traditional potato version (which is definitely high-glycemic).

  • Kwanzaa:

    • Carrot salad

    • Succotash

    • Okra and greens

    • Red snapper or other seafood

    Black-eyed peas are another popular Kwanzaa dish. With their medium-glycemic load, black-eyed peas are also a good choice.

Vacations

Whether you're traveling across Europe, going on a cruise, or camping at a nearby lake, the main goal with vacations is twofold: Do a little planning ahead and remember to balance all foods so you can enjoy yourself and still maintain your weight.

Because so many types of vacations exist, narrowing down the possible low-glycemic food options into a list is difficult. Following are just a few tips of what to buy or look for on a menu:

  • Grilled, baked, or roasted chicken, turkey, lean beef, or pork

  • Seafood (make sure it's not fried or dipped in a lot of butter)

  • Side vegetables

  • Side salads and soups (sometimes these may be your only choice for veggies)

  • Fresh fruits

  • Hot cereal for breakfast

  • Scrambled or poached eggs with whole-wheat toast

Indulging on vacation is okay; just don't do it for every meal of every day. Instead, balance your indulgences with some healthy choices that you enjoy just as much.

Although losing weight on vacation is possible, you may just want to set a goal to maintain your weight when you're away from home. Doing so helps you avoid unrealistic expectations so you can focus on the more realistic goal of not gaining a significant amount of weight (which is where balance and moderation come into play).

Parties

Parties often feature a wide assortment of food choices. Whether you're attending a work party, a graduation shindig, or a summer barbeque, you should be able to find some great traditional choices, such as the following:

  • Grilled, roasted, or baked chicken, lean beef, or pork

  • Seafood

  • Side vegetables (raw or cooked)

  • Three-bean salad

  • Bean dips

  • Artichokes

  • Olives

  • Nuts

  • Tossed greens salad

  • Fruit or fruit salad

  • Corn on the cob

  • Tortilla chips

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