The Best Choices For Diabetics At Thanksgiving

For most, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family, friends, our country, and a delicious meal. For diabetics, Thanksgiving may be a time to stress about meal choices and feel left out. While traditional Thanksgiving feasts are packed with carbohydrates, sugar, and fat, there are many healthy and diabetic-friendly foods laid out on the table if you know where to look.

Don’t feel left out this Thanksgiving! Here is a guide to choosing the healthiest options on the dinner table.

Celebrate Turkey Day with some extra turkey! Turkey, especially white meat, is high in protein and can help keep post-meal insulin levels within a healthy range. Turkey meat has very little fat content and is a much healthier choice than red meat. In addition, turkey is high in selenium and vitamin B, which have been shown to lower your risk for certain cancers and maintain steady blood sugar levels. Remember to skip the skin, the source of most of the fat on a turkey!

Choose green beans over sweet potatoes and corn. If offered the choice between creamed corn and green bean casserole, choose the greens! While green bean casserole is still fairly high in fat and calories, it is not as starchy as sweet potatoes and has fewer carbs than creamed corn. Creamed corn offers almost no nutritional benefit and is loaded with hidden fat and carbs. The best choices for diabetics are steamed, boiled, or pan-fried green beans, but these options are often absent from the Thanksgiving table. Try bringing them as a side dish!

Skip the cranberry sauce. While it may seem like a healthier option than gravy, cranberry sauce actually has nearly three times the calories in gravy and added sugars. Surprisingly, gravy only has about 30 calories per ¼ cup. If you like a little sweetness with your turkey, try a few dried cranberries on the side, or even a glass of fresh cranberry juice.

Try pumpkin soup instead of pumpkin pie. While pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving dinner, it is loaded with sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. If you still crave that pumpkin flavor, incorporate some pumpkin or butternut squash soup into the meal, or try a healthier pumpkin dessert! Here is a delicious and healthy recipe for pumpkin pie dip, a light and fluffy mix that can be deliciously paired with ginger snaps, apples, or graham crackers.

If you’re a fan of stuffing, try creating a stuffing substitute with lower carbs. The worst part about stuffing for diabetics is the bread, so try replacing it with whole-wheat crackers, pretzels, or even grainy breads. You can still get the wonderful flavors of stuffing, but without the dangerous carbohydrates!

Remember to monitor your insulin post-meal. Often, Thanksgiving dinner will fall a lot earlier than your typical mealtime, so try to snack a bit later to maintain your blood sugar levels. It also helps to take a brisk walk after eating to burn off some excess calories. Try to get the whole family to come along!

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