Diabetes at Thanksgiving and Christmas: eating guidelines and healthy recipes

13 Nov

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

thanksgiving diabetes diet recipes

If you’re diabetic, this could be disastrous

Thanksgiving and Christmas must be torture for diabetics – nearly everything on the table is on your forbidden foods list.

I know that the “it’s only once a year” excuse will float through your head, but if you eat with abandon your blood sugar is going to spike so high it will dock with the space station.

So what’s a diabetic to do?


If you’re diabetic, there’s no reason to be miserable at Thanksgiving. You certainly can eat well, but in moderation and with some alteration of how you might have eaten before your diagnosis.

Try these meal tips:

  • Start the day with a good breakfast so you won’t be famished come meal time. If you’re “starving”, you’re likely to overindulge
  • Nibble on raw vegetables before dinner instead of other less healthy snacks
  • Skip the mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy (sorry)
  • Choose white turkey meat instead of dark
  • Instead of serving casserole vegetables loaded with sauce, just lightly steam green beans, peas, and/or carrots
  • If you want cranberries with your turkey, do just that – add cranberries, not cranberry sauce, which is loaded with sugar
  • If you’d like a glass of wine, drink it with dinner only, and only 1 glass. If you’re having white wine, dilute it with seltzer water to make a wine spritzer
  • The pies: If you must, have a small taste, but skip the whipped cream
  • Leave the leftovers

If you notice a pattern here, it’s the avoidance of starchy carbohydrates and sugars, with a focus instead on lean proteins and raw or lightly cooked vegetables. These are the foods our bodies function best on, diabetic or not.

Medicine to control your blood sugar is not the method by which you should counteract a poor diet. If you practice smart food choices, your blood sugar levels should be very manageable and you’ll avoid the disastrous effects of diabetes like cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, blindness, and foot amputation.

Remember, the real joy of Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t the food. It’s for enjoying family and friends… and a little football.

Here are some great ways to cook your holiday favorites in a healthy way, courtesy of Diabetic Gourmet Magazine

Roast Turkey with herbal rub

Apple Glazed Pork Roast

Fresh Cranberry and wild rice stuffing

Baked Grated Carrots with Sherry

Green Beans with Mushrooms

Gingered Orange Carrots

Ham with slow roasted asparagus and lemon thyme sauce

Garlic Cauliflower

Sweet potatoes with orange

Cinnamon Apple Pork Tenderloin

Broiled Marinated Leg Of Lamb

How to carve a turkey

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