It’s hard to believe that my favorite time of the year is here again-the holidays! We’ve been working so hard all year towards the goals we set for ourselves earlier this year and now it’s time to relax, celebrate and enjoy family.
Besides the actual holiday dinner feast, meals made with the leftovers from the holidays tend to be some of the things I look forward to most. Let’s face it-after meal 4 or 5 of the same exact thing, it starts to get old!
This year I’m focusing on something fun and providing you ideas for some blood sugar friendly meals to repurpose some of your holiday leftovers!
Turkey is the star of many holiday meals and can continue to be a protein packed base to a breakfast, lunch or even dinner, days after you first enjoy it with family.
Turkey is a lean protein and has about 25 grams of protein for a 3 oz serving of turkey breast. You can add leftover turkey to create:
Turkey Breakfast Hash: Chop up your leftover turkey and saute with bell peppers, onions, and leftover sweet potatoes for a fun breakfast the next morning, filled with fiber and flavor! Pair with eggs for a protein packed scramble.
Turkey Salad: Leftover turkey replaces chicken as the star for this holiday themed chicken salad alternative. Swap mayonnaise for plain low-fat greek yogurt for lower calories, fat and extra protein and add dried cranberries for a fun seasonal twist.
Mini Turkey Shepherd’s Pie: Your leftover turkey and mashed potatoes can be repurposed to make the perfect personal sized shepherd’s pies! Your leftover turkey is transformed with the addition of nutritious veggies like carrots, onions and celery and can be portioned into mini ramekins or mason jars to keep the portion size blood sugar friendly. Top the meat, veggie and gravy mixture with your leftover mashed potatoes-having them mini and pre portioned makes it easier to plan your meal dosing strategy!
As someone who is originally from the South, “sweet potato casserole” and yams hold a special place in my heart. While you can absolutely enjoy the regular tried and true versions of these during your holiday time with your family, there are several different ways you can repurpose your leftovers (if there’s any left!) into new blood sugar friendly traditions for you and your family to enjoy.
Try blending and using your leftover sweet potatoes as an addition to a seasonal smoothie, soup base, and even some high fiber sweet potato pancakes for the breakfast the morning after your holiday dinner to wow your guests! I recommend a protein pancake or homemade oat flour pancake recipe to keep it more blood sugar friendly.
Simply add the blended sweet potatoes to any of your favorite recipes.
Whether it is homemade or store bought, cranberry sauce doesn’t have to be just a sidekick. Even canned cranberry sauce can be cooked down and added to low glycemic fruits like berries to make a topping for things such as greek yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, and desserts like fruit sorbet and homemade nice cream. By melting it down and adding low glycemic fruits to the cranberry sauce, you can minimize the amount of added sugars per serving while still enjoying the holiday flavor that you love!
Whether it be these new takes or your own creations, I hope you find creative ways to enjoy your holiday leftovers that won’t take away from the festivities due to battles with blood sugars. Make sure to use the food tracker, fitness activity tracking, and notes features on your Glooko Mobile App to make notes of all your food and diabetes related experiments-it will help to know what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t forget to tag Glooko in all of your creations and I hope you have a happy holiday season and find joy in all your holiday food adventures!
Bridget Wood, RD, LD, CDCES