Kish Hospital hosts Holidays with Diabetes to help with healthy eating habits

By Maria Ahmad

Diabetics pay special attention to what they eat during the holidays, but Kishwaukee’s Diabetic Team encouraged all to practice healthy holiday indulging during a program Monday.

Kishwaukee Community Hospital’s Diabetes Education Team hosted Holidays with Diabetes to help diabetics and their family members make the holiday season more fruitful and healthy. The night started off with a presentation of the Ten Commandments of a Healthy Holiday, which provided tips for balancing diet and holiday spirit.

The program continued with ideas for healthy holiday exercises and ended with quick and healthy cooking demonstrations and taste samples.

“I came because my boyfriend is diabetic and I help cook for him so I want to know what is good for him,” said Sycamore resident Mel Richer. “I have made changes in my own diet, too, like eating whole bread instead of white and using olive oil.”

The importance of celebrating the holidays with friends and family was one of the 10 Healthy Holiday Commandments. The event was geared to not only diabetics but also their family members and friends.

“One of the struggles during holiday time comes from well-meaning friends and family who tell them what they should and should not eat,” said Susan Seitz, Kishwaukee RN, CDE. “We call them the Diabetes Police.”

The sessions and demonstrations were presented by the diabetics team, which included Peggy Marchini, Susan Seitz, and Jessica Harris, intern and graduate nutrition major.

“As an intern, I work with the dietician and nurse team, and participate in programs like this,” Harris said. “Programs like this can really help make the quality of life for someone so much better.”

Tips for a healthy holiday included limiting alcohol intake, snacking often and getting enough sleep, among other things. Simple exercise tips, like parking far and walking, decorating and dancing, were encouraged as others shared their exercise suggestions.

“You have to figure out what combination works for you, which foods work for you,” Marchini said. “You have to figure out you.”

The program concluded with “holiday smart” recipes for rosemary spiced cashews, mini carnberry phyllo tarts and pumpkin fudge brownies.