HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined, yet with the right food and movement choices, it can be prevented.
"Almost everyone I met within the first five minutes of meeting me, they would ask me, 'Can I still eat this, can I still eat that?'" said dietitian Lori Zanini.
Zanini is a diabetes educator who wants people to know that yes, you can still eat your favorite foods if you have diabetes.
"When we tell people you can never eat something again, you want it more," said Zanini.
Instead of complete avoidance, she prefers making not-so-healthy foods better, which is why she created diabetes cookbook, "Eat What You Love."
"It includes chicken pot pie and mac-and-cheese and mashed potatoes, but it's just a better way to make them all so you can enjoy them without ever feeling guilty," said Zanini.
Her take on traditional holiday plates is a perfect example of a "good-tasting, good-for-you" solution.
On those healthier plates, make sure you include non-starchy vegetables, leafy vegetables, a side of protein and a healthy carbohydrate, Zanini added.
Beyond food, there are some very big tips that require very small changes on your part.
Here are seven easy things to do to prevent or manage your disease from fitness enthusiast and registered nurse of 40 years, Lorraine Gantt:
Eat more fiber and drink more water during the holiday. This will keep you feeling full and help blood sugar stay even.
At home or work, set an alarm clock to sound every 45 minutes to remind you to stand, stretch or walk.
When grocery shopping, walk down every aisle twice before you begin shopping.
If you work or live near stairs, walk up one flight every day.
When watching TV, get moving during commercials.
Find a purpose. Register and participate in any charitable race or event during the holidays.
And yes, reward yourself with something small and special once you reach a goal.