Healthy Holiday Meal Alternatives for People With Diabetes

Thanksgiving is a huge food holiday! So it can be a tricky holiday for people who have diseases which are affected by food like diabetes or prediabetes. And it's tricky for those who are obese and overweight.

The thought of managing all the food options if you have diabetes, or are dealing with weight issues, can cause anxiety. It can be stressful when you are trying to figure out how to create a tasty meal that will not throw your numbers out of whack.

I have some ideas for you to consider to help you manage Thanksgiving day and the holiday weekend with ease.

One of the most important considerations for diabetes or people with weight issues is to keep your blood sugars balanced during the day. This means you need to eat regular meals.

You need to eat breakfast and lunch before your big dinner meal. Make sure that your breakfast and lunch are healthy whole foods.

You can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner by eating small portions of the food available for the dinner.

Don't take home leftovers. Start back on your normal plan the day after Thanksgiving.

The best way for diabetics to balance blood sugars is to eat vegetables and proteins. I have a great surprise for you. You can eat great food for every course.

Let me give you some examples.

Perhaps you know that you will be serving family members that are diabetics or overweight and you want to make foods that they can eat and others will love too. Here are some suggestions to make your Thanksgiving meal diabetic friendly:

Hors d’oeuvre or snacks

While you are waiting for dinner think about dips. Try beans dips or vegetable dips, spinach or artichoke or crab dips, adding small amounts of low-fat cheese or sour cream. Serve them with multi-grain crackers or vegetables. Don’t eat any too many.

Soups and salad

For your first course, you can have salads or soups that have plenty of vegetable or lean meats. Pumpkin or butternut squash soups are lovely seasonal options.

Main dishes

Main dishes usually have meat options. Consider organic lean meats, turkey, Cornish game hens, lamb, and lean cuts of red meats.

Some families prefer fish or vegetarian protein sources for the main dish.

Sides

The best sides for diabetics are vegetable-based because they raise blood sugars at a slower rate than starches. For the sides accompanying your meal you have so many options — green beans, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, butternut or acorn squash, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower.

Starches

The best starches are still going to be root vegetables instead of bread and pasta. If you are eating starches, focus on root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, roasted parsnips and red potatoes. Corn breads, stuffings and biscuits, if eaten, should be limited to one serving.

Dessert

To finish off your meal, consider fruit that is low on the glycemic index like blueberries, strawberries and cherries. If you feel you need something baked in the oven, think about fruit pies. You can also make pumpkin or sweet potato pie using agave or stevia as the sweetener. These contain fiber, so they are better than cakes or sugar pies.

Healthy holiday alternatives for Thanksgiving can give you a great meal and keep your blood sugars balanced at the same time. Just remember, don’t overeat all these yummy foods because overeating will ruin all of your good meal choices!

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae