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Managing Diabetes on Thanksgiving: American Diabetes Month

By November 24, 2015Archives

Who doesn’t love a holiday that centers around eating? When it comes to being an American, Thanksgiving is the ultimate eating holiday. However, for those suffering from diabetes, Thanksgiving can turn from a joyous occasion of reunion and feasting to a minefield. Many traditional Thanksgiving foods are high in fat and carbohydrates. One look at the layout of the table is enough to strike fear in the heart of a senior who can’t live without some of these specialties and yet must be careful not to worsen their diabetes. With careful planning, a diabetic can enjoy the celebration and make healthy choices at the same time.<br><br>

The best way to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving dinner is to plan ahead and eat a little bit beforehand. Eat a good breakfast so that the stomach starts the day full and happy. Assigning someone to watch what a diabetic senior is eating can cause friction and can be demeaning as well. It can do  more harm than good causing arguments and embarrassment. Giving the senior the opportunity to use self control and maintain dignity is the best option.<br><br>

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, there are many things that can be done when preparing the food that will make it healthier. Instead of baking the stuffing inside the turkey itself, bake it in a casserole dish. This will ensure there is less fat. Baking it in low-fat broth and margarine instead of butter helps too. When eating the turkey, choose white rather than dark meat, and remove the skin. Turkey is high in protein and has no carbs. A healthy portion is 3-4 ounces, or approximately the size of a person’s palm. If wine is the drink of choice, make sure to drink it with, rather than before, dinner. It’s also a good idea to dilute the wine a bit with some seltzer water, making a wine spritzer. As for the sweet potatoes, added sugar or butter isn’t necessary, they’re sweet enough on their own!<br><br>

And then there’s dessert. Keep portions small and the choices smart. Pumpkin pie has less sugar than pecan pie, for example. Desserts can be made with artificial sweetener and then topped with low-fat whipped cream. After the meal is over, the person who would have been a member of the “food police” can keep the senior company during a short walk.<br><br>
Thanksgiving is about togetherness, thankfulness, and family. Diabetes needs to be kept in consideration, but shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the holiday. It does not have to be that way. With some smart thinking and careful planning, seniors with diabetes can enjoy Thanksgiving just as much as everyone else.<br><br>


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