The holiday season presents a unique set of challenges for those trying to manage their diabetes care. Tempting seasonal dishes might look delicious and satisfying, but they could be dangerous when it comes to maintaining your blood sugar levels. Check out these helpful tips for staying healthy during Thanksgiving:
Organize your plate
• Vegetables - Instead of just piling every steaming hot concoction onto your dish, pay attention to the makeup of your plate. The American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends filling at least half your plate with vegetables. Some great options traditionally found on a holiday table include carrots, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and salad. Many Thanksgiving meals include seasonal fruits like cranberries, apples and pears, which are also good choices for adding flavor to your plate while still keeping things nutritious. AADE noted that more often than not, vegetables are cooked in creamy casseroles full of butter and sauce. Stay away from these high-calorie options and focus on dishes with fresh produce prepared in a healthy fashion.
• Protein - When digging into that turkey, make sure you choose white meat, since it is far leaner than its dark counterpart. The American Diabetes Association notes that the poultry is a wonderful healthy addition to your plate since it's both high in protein and lacking in carbohydrates. Make sure you prepare the bird nutritiously - think roasting instead of frying - and remove the skin before eating the meat. Protein should take up a quarter of your plate, notes the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
• Starches and grains - Ignore any bread slices or rolls that might be available and instead opt for healthier, more flavorful starches. The American Association of Diabetes Educators suggests filling the remaining quarter of your dish with regular potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice. If you are an ardent fan of stuffing, the ADA recommended making your own using whole-wheat bread and extra vegetables like celery, onions and mushrooms.
• Beverages - Make sure you do not fall prey to high-calorie, sugary beverages like seasonal punches and alcohol. Stick to healthy options like water, seltzer water, tea or diet soda.
Organize your day
• Eat breakfast. Holidays can be hectic, but it is important to stick to a healthy routine to keep your blood sugar in check. Make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast and do not fast for the larger meal later on - you will be more tempted to overeat and indulge in unhealthy options. The American Association of Diabetes Educators also recommends planning a healthy snack for midday in case dinner is not served until later.
• Get moving. You might feel like sitting on the couch and watching television when you are finished eating. Instead, do a family activity that involves getting up and being active. The AADE suggests taking a walk with your loved ones or organizing a backyard football game. You will not only be improving your health, you will be bonding with your loved ones and creating valuable memories.