What if diabetes was not getting in your way of enjoying Thanksgiving this year?
We hope to share with you some ideas and tips on how you can enjoy Thanksgiving and still manage your blood sugar.
Oftentimes, the biggest perceived challenge is that the meals are overloaded with carbohydrates from the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and so much pie that, as a diabetic, you wither just knowing your numbers will be high or stressed about the whole meal. But don’t despair – experts say people with diabetes can still have all their favorite Thanksgiving foods, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, as long as they follow these tips.
Whether you’re doing the cooking or heading to a friend’s or family member’s for dinner, know what’s on the menu beforehand and plan what you’re going to eat. If you need to add in more insulin, walk to get the sugar lower or make sure your water intake is adequate, all are ways to plan ahead.
You want some mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey? No problem!. A good rule of thumb is to remember the USDA’s Choose My Plate recommendations. Make half the plate vegetables, one-quarter protein and one-quarter carbohydrates.
Just because you can’t eat a mound of mashed potatoes, doesn’t mean you need to go hungry. Vegetables such as green beans, carrots, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts are free game. You can eat as many veggies as you want. Remember that winter squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, and butternut squash are all carbohydrates and will affect your blood sugar.
Check Your Blood Sugar
Managing your blood sugar every day is crucial when you have diabetes, but even more so on Thanksgiving. Know how foods affect your levels, then start checking your blood sugar two hours after you finish eating, and every hour or so after that. This will give a picture of how you’re responding to the meal. About two hours is required for the food to be digested and enter the blood stream, so this time frame gives a good picture of how the meal is being processed by the body.
Don’t Skip Dessert
While it might be tempting to fill up on turkey, be sure to save room in your diet for desserts. Desserts are often carbohydrate heavy, so give yourself a budget of carbs for the day and save some for pumpkin pie. The American Diabetes Association recommends budgeting 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. A half cup of a starchy vegetable like squash has 15 grams of carbs, as does one slice of bread.
In the end, Thanksgiving is just another day, and you don’t need to be perfect. Do the best you can to enjoy Thanksgiving and still manage your blood sugar.
If you are needing more help with your blood sugar and carb counting, we would love to help with meeting with one of our registered dietitians.
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.