Navigating the Holidays & Lower Carb Alcohol: Healthy Eating JUMPSTART Video Series

Rina answers common questions about low carb eating, in this patient-friendly educational video series. Here is a transcript of her video session. Created in 2022 for the Healthy Eating JUMPSTART program.

Tips for navigating social gatherings during the holidays while eating lower carb

There is no denying that navigating social gatherings can be challenging, especially if you need to watch what you’re eating. Some people may choose to stick to their low-carb meal plan during the holidays or other social gatherings. For others, it may be helpful to plan ahead around how you would like to approach these events.
Here are some tips to help you navigate social gatherings:
Tip 1: not skip meals. It can be tempting to skip meals and save your appetite for a big meal later on. However, we encourage that you continue to follow consistent and balanced meal patterns throughout the day and not skip meals, as that can increase the likelihood of overeating.
Tip 2: Have a low-carb snack at home. Consider having a snack prior to attending your gathering. This can help you satisfy your initial hunger and make informed decisions during your event.
Tip 3: Bring a low-carb dish to share. If you are attending a gathering, you might consider asking if you can bring a dish to share with the group. That way, you can ensure you’ll have some delicious meals to enjoy with everyone else.
Tip 4: Use the step process. When serving up, keep in mind the 3 step process. Plate your protein and non-starchy vegetables first, followed by sauces or dips to accompany your meal.
Remember, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself ahead of time. Going off track for a day or two will not reverse all your hard work. If you choose to enjoy higher carb foods during social events and holidays, have a plan to get back on track so you can continue making progress towards your goals.

Can I drink alcohol with a lower carb lifestyle?

Although the recommendation is to avoid or limit alcohol intake, we acknowledge that it may be an important question that may be on your mind when navigating plans for an upcoming event, celebration, or holiday. If you decide that you would like to engage in alcoholic beverages, we encourage you to set an intention and realistic goal prior to the event. For example, think about how you would like to navigate the situation and set a goal for yourself. We also recommend avoiding drinks that are typically higher in carbohydrates such as beer and mixed cocktails that often include syrups, juices etc. and instead choose from varieties that are lower in sugar such as dry wine and liquors such as whiskey, vodka, and gin. You may consider making your own cocktail using a variety of soda waters or tonic, or enjoy with a slice of lime/lemon, herbs or crushed berries.

Rina Hisamatsu, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and health educator for the Michigan Collaborative for Type 2 Diabetes. In this JUMPSTART Video Series, Rina answers patients' commonly asked questions and concerns about a lower carb lifestyle. These brief, under 5-minute videos can be shared with patients individually or sent as part of a playlist of patient educational videos.


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Support for the Michigan Collaborative on Type 2 Diabetes is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network as part of the BCBSM Value Partnerships program. BCBSM’s Value Partnerships program provides clinical and executive support for all CQI programs. To learn more about Value Partnerships, visit Although Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Collaborative on Type 2 Diabetes work in partnership, the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by MCT2D do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of BCBSM or any of its employees.