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Diabetes Friendly Thanksgiving

Jessica Jarrett


Nov 1st, 2016


While the holidays are the most wonderful time of year, they are also the most stressful and if diabetes affects you or a loved one, putting together a Thanksgiving meal can be especially stressful. Luckily, we have tips and recipes to help keep diabetes under control while you and your family enjoy the foods you love.

Portion Control

It’s not always about WHAT you eat. Sometimes, the amount can impact blood sugar levels in a diabetic. Easily control portion sizes by using small plates, bowls and utensils whenever possible. Plus, keeping carb-heavy dishes like potatoes, rice or bread to a half cup serving or smaller (think the size of a tennis ball or ice cream scoop) will save room for other more important nutrients. This Wild Rice Au Gratin recipe is delicious and easily portioned!

wild rice au gratin

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The Thanksgiving table is filled with so many delicious foods and it’s hard to imagine taking a break between bites. However, eating slowly and savoring each bite will allow your tastes buds to truly taste every flavor and give your brain plenty of time to catch up. It takes about 20 minutes for the “I’m full!” message to get from your stomach to your brain making it important to slow down and avoid overeating.


This holiday season, opt for low or zero calorie beverages! Choose from unsweetened hot or iced tea, flavored mineral or seltzer water or even diet soda. Dress them up a bit by adding a wedge of lemon or lime!

Simple Switches

Whenever possible, switch to whole grain (like brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat bread instead of white bread) and add extra non-starchy veggies (like onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms) to your side dishes. For sweeter dishes, consider cutting the sugars in half! Better yet, choose recipes that don’t call for sugar at all—like this Vanilla Bean-Whipped Yams recipe!


Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady

Balance our any carbohydrate-containing foods with lean meats, fish, greens, eggs, avocado and cheese! Turkey is the perfect option for Thanksgiving and this Apple Cider Gravy recipe is the perfect topping!


Dessert is Non-Negotiable

Because nobody wants to skip dessert, especially during the holidays, don’t! Serve yourself petite portions, enjoy them mindfully by tasting every bite and add the dessert carbs to your total meal carb budget. This Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe is a simple and sweet dessert you have to try!


Stay Active

Staying active and exercising regularly reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and helps improve blood sugar levels and sensitivity to insulin. While finding time to exercise during the holidays can be difficult, it is worth it!

NOTE: If you have diabetes, measuring your blood sugar levels about one and a half to 2 hours after eating will tell you whether your blood sugar is within normal limits, high, or low. This is especially important during the holidays, when you might be eating and exercising a little differently.

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