The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for family, festivity and food. All of us may recall childhood memories of the holiday filled with Mom’s turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. Who could resist temptation on this of all days?
It may be a day to be permissive, not to count calories consumed. Many people take in well over 3000 calories on Thanksgiving. Most holiday fare is loaded with carbohydrate and fat. For the diabetic, there are constraints regarding the number of carb grams that may be used. Making some wise food decisions could allow the diabetic a more festive day.
Tips for the diabetic surrounding the holiday:
1. .Make smart food choices keeping in mind the number of carbs allowed. ( More about this later in the article).
2. Think about timing of holiday meals. Some families eat their main meal in the afternoon. This may throw off the schedule of the diabetic, especially if taking insulin. Plan in advance what to do: perhaps take a snack in between meals.
3. Eat a smaller amount at any meal that day. Try to keep carbohydrate totals the same as any other day.
4. .Eat vegetables. Veggies may be a better choice even though many have sauces, are rich in fat and have extra ingredients. Offer to bring a green salad or a veggie tray as an appetizer.
5. If cooking part of the meal, try altering recipes so they are healthy but still tasty. Cut down on sugar in pies and cakes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and other sweet spices to season. Replace half of the fat in recipes for cakes with applesauce. Serve pumpkin pie in place of other choices of pies. Have angel food cake as part of the desert list.
Pumpkin might be an acceptable desert especially over other pies. A cup of pumpkin is low in sugar; the pie could be prepared by baking with egg whites in place of whole eggs and using artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
In making food choices, the skinny is all about healthy but tasty. Reader’s Digest’s healthy living guide “Reverse Diabetes,” November edition, (2012), discusses healthy food choices for the holidays. The recommendations in this article are based largely on the Reader’s Digest healthy living guide. The experts say that all of that food is a good thing on Thanksgiving but must be balanced out with continuing to count carbs.
Turkey breast is a wise choice for meat. In place of mashed potatoes, you could have roasted sweet potatoes. Serve rice based stuffing in place of corn bread stuffing. Or choose to forego dressing, mashed potatoes and bread in favor of an array of choices of fruits and vegetables on the table.
Homemade cranberry sauce can be used and counted as a fruit, if it is made with whole cranberries and sweetener.
And now vegetables: If the choice is between broccoli cheese casserole or green beans with almonds, choose the green beans. Vegetables with less fat are preferable.
The holiday can be a busy and stressful time. For diabetics, this stress can elevate blood sugar levels. Some suggestions to lesson stress for the holiday might include: 1. Keep the day simple, 2. organize, 3. plan ahead, and 4. practice breathing and relaxation exercises.
One single factor which may improve blood sugar even if more calories are taken in is exercise. Going for a walk after dinner or playing sports with family, are ideas for helping to lower blood sugar levels.
Even cutting back a little on the richest of the Thanksgiving fare, and using some of the suggestions given here, will make the holiday happier and healthier.