How to manage diabetes during the holidays (+ diabetic friendly Tiramisu recipe)

The holidays are a time of celebration, thanksgiving, reflection....and eating for many. A little bit of overindulgence here and there won't hurt, but for those with diabetes, it can lead to long-term damage.

Here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays:

  • Eat Before You Eat! Many people think that, to budget calories, they will skip a meal before a party, but that’s a bad idea. Stick to your regularly planned, healthy, balanced meals and snacks before you head to a party. This will help keep blood sugar levels in check and prevent you from overeating.
  • Take a Walk – Don’t forget your normal exercise routine. It’s important to make time and stay active. Work exercise into a busy schedule by making it a social event. Go for a walk to see the lights after dinner, or take a stroll with a friend instead of meeting for coffee or cocktails.
  • Moderation is Key – Drink alcohol in moderation, and remember to eat whenever you drink. Daily recommendations for alcohol for those with diabetes are no more than one drink for women and no more than two drinks for men.
  • Remember the Reason for the Season – The holidays are a time to appreciate being with family and friends, not just a time for endless buffets! Focus on spending time with loved ones, and slow down at each meal, making sure to savor each bite of those special, seasonal treats.
  • Sub it Out – Opt for healthier substitutes when cooking or baking, like whole grain pastas instead of enriched pastas, evaporated skim milk or fat free half and half instead of heavy cream, or Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in dips.

Lightened-up Tiramisu recipe

Serves 16: Serving size 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1-ounce package sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces light cream cheese
  • 8 ounces fat-free whipped topping
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, divided


  1. In a medium bowl, combine cold water, vanilla pudding mix, and powdered sugar and stir with a whisk. Chill 20 minutes.
  2. Add cream cheese to the pudding mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
  3. Fold in whipped topping until well blended.
  4. In a small bowl or mug, mix hot water and coffee granules.
  5. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Arrange 16 ladyfingers halves flat side down in a trifle or large glass bowl. Drizzle ladyfingers with coffee. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mixture over the ladyfingers and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cocoa. Repeat layers, ending with cocoa.
  6. Cover and chill for 4 hours or longer.

Dietician’s Tip: You can still enjoy any dessert if you have diabetes…just enjoy it in moderation!
This one is beautiful served in a trifle bowl. The ADA recommends eating only a small amount of saturated fat every day. This recipe is higher in saturated fat, so try to balance it by eating foods low in saturated fats at your other meals today.