When you have diabetes and work hard to maintain your health, Thanksgiving can feel like a minefield made of delectable home-cooked dishes. Many traditional Thanksgiving recipes are just different combinations of carbohydrates, sugar, fats, and sodium, but they’re so tasty! And we all have someone in the family who’ll feel slighted if you don’t try the special dish they made for the occasion. When you have diabetes, how do you navigate the ultimate feasting holiday with consideration for your health? We’ve prepared some tips so you can finally sit back and enjoy this holiday – at least until someone reminds Grandma of that vase you broke when you were 5.
- Don’t skip other meals to “make room” for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be tempting to save all your calories for those glorious mashed potatoes your cousin makes; this strategy will likely only make you hungrier later and make it harder to convince yourself to eat in moderation later.
- This one might surprise you- eat your favorite dishes! They’re your favorites for a reason, and there’s no good reason to deprive yourself forever more. Have a little bit of your favorite foods!
- Skip the foods you don’t like. Why waste calories on something you don’t enjoy eating anyways?
- Prioritize protein and non-starchy vegetables. So, your favorite Thanksgiving food is sweet potato casserole? Great! Make sure that sugary, carb-loaded stuff takes up only a 1/4 of your plate or less. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like roasted asparagus or steamed broccoli; that last quarter is for proteins like the turkey.
- Skip sugary beverages. Water, tea, or seltzer are excellent choices to balance out the heavy meal.
- Have your dessert if you want. Maybe pumpkin pie is your favorite Thanksgiving food – well, you don’t have to sit out during dessert. Take a smaller portion of your favorite and savor it slowly.
- Walk off the food coma. Get your family together and take a nice brisk walk outdoors after dinner. Light activity like walking will help you feel less sleepy now that you’re full, and it’s good for you! (Plus, you can get all those turkey farts out while your family isn’t paying attention.)