November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s also filled with plenty of holidays, traditions and all sorts of opportunities to eat a bit off your usual track. With family in town, or you visiting others, it’s tough to keep track of a healthy eating plan. According to health experts, people with diabetes should try to avoid eating too many carbohydrates. But which foods are heavy in carbs at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and how can you avoid those blood sugar roller coasters? We’ll go through what to avoid, what to embrace, and what to swap out during this sugary season.
Swap: Crackers for Crudite
If your family tends to munch on crackers and cheese or dips before the big event, you can easily make a healthy substitute here. Though vegetables do contain carbohydrates, the American Diabetes Association specifically highlights non-starchy ones as a great option for diabetics to load up on. A cheese plate with sliced cucumbers or broccoli with a spinach- artichoke dip could be perfect. As a bonus, you might be feeling ready for actual Thanksgiving dinner a bit more with a plate of vegetables as opposed to a box of crackers.
Swap: Boxed Stuffing for the (Whole Grain) Real Deal
If you’re like many Americans, stuffing is potentially your favorite part of the holiday. The fluffy mass is perfect on its own or covered in gravy, plus it makes leftovers even more fun. With boxed versions, you’re stuck with the most processed and nutritionally empty version of stuffing. Opting instead for whole grain bread will provide you with fiber, minerals and vitamins and fewer blood sugar issues.
Green Bean Casserole
This healthier Thanksgiving side dish isn’t necessarily standard in every home, but it’s great for people with diabetes. With the non-starchy vegetable base, it’s off to a great start. They can easily be cooked in healthier fat options and topped with crushed nuts for an added crunch.
Depending on your individual health situation, you may have more wiggle room in your diet for something sweet at the end of the night. Perhaps you’re aiming to keep the rest of dinner low- carb to make room for a slice of pumpkin pie. Maybe you opt to make some substitutions or try out a store-bought low-sugar dessert. If you’re not as dessert-driven, you might even opt for seasonal fruit. Whatever you choose, just remember that you’ve been working hard all day to keep yourself feeling good. A healthy Thanksgiving dinner as a diabetic doesn’t have to mean skipping the holiday entirely, though!