This week many American families will get together and enjoy a decadent Thanksgiving feast. We anticipate loosening our belt buckles as we reach for another helping of great-grandma’s homemade stuffing and groaning contentedly as someone brings out the pumpkin pie. Ah, bliss! But for people with diabetes, it can be very challenging and frustrating to accommodate a diabetic diet during the holiday season.
Diabetes is a condition that causes blood sugar levels fluctuate dangerously. When we consume food, it is metabolized into glucose (sugar) that our bodies use for energy. A hormone called insulin moves the glucose into our cells, but when someone has diabetes their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin and sugar levels build up in the blood. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes must follow careful diets in order to control their blood sugar levels.
The good new is that even if you are diabetic, you can still enjoy delicious family recipes and be thankful for Thanksgiving with these simple, helpful tips…
Don’t Skip Meals
To manage your blood sugar levels it is important to eat throughout the day. Skipping breakfast or lunch may lead to overeating at Thanksgiving dinner, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.
Get Creative with Recipes
There are many tasty Thanksgiving recipes for diabetics readily available with a quick Google search. These delicious dishes are healthy for your non-diabetic family and friends too! They might even become your new holiday favorites.
Eat your Veggies at Thanksgiving
Include healthy vegetable dishes like roasted brussels sprouts or luscious green salads with kale or spinach to help balance out the other indulgent options on offer. Remember that, diabetic or not, you should aim for about half of your plate to be loaded up with mouth-watering vegetable dishes.
As tempting as it is to drop into a deep nap after eating all that food, try to plan a physical activity after your meal instead. Football season is here, so rally the troops for a friendly game of touch football and you and your loved ones will score big in healthy yardage. Or, for those of us who still can’t remember a single rule of football no matter how many times our uncle explains it, take a walk instead. A leisurely stroll after your Thanksgiving feast will aid in burning off some of those excess carbohydrates and calories. Don’t fall into a “turkey coma” after leaving the dinner table! Instead, aim for 30 minutes of activity to keep blood glucose levels stable. Touchdown!
Thanksgiving with diabetes is manageable and with a little bit of planning you can still enjoy traditional family recipes without compromising your health. Don’t skip meals leading up to the feast, be creative with your recipes and try alternative ingredients, load up on the veggies, and avoid the couch after the feast and get outside and play.
Most of all, have a Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim!
Now pass the stuffing!