Turkey day is almost here! Thanksgiving – an entire day devoted to giving thanks for all that’s good in our lives. A holiday often filled with family, friends, and food. While it’s a day to be enjoyed, diabetics especially can benefit from a little thought and planning before digging in!
If you are traveling for your Thanksgiving celebration, don’t forget to bring your glucometer, extra test strips, and all of your medications with you.
If you’re hosting the meal, you have control over what you serve, and can ensure there are smart choices on the menu. If you are an attendee of a holiday party elsewhere, offer to bring a healthy dish to contribute to the feast.
Ask your holiday host to inform you of a few menu items that they are planning on serving. This way, you have an idea of what your food choices may be. Jot down a list of foods you look forward to enjoying, and even a few foods you know you should avoid. This makes you more likely to stick to your plan.
Don’t “save room” by skipping meals. The morning of your Thanksgiving celebration, eat a good breakfast that combines protein, good fats, and fiber. This will prevent snacking as you help prepare the meal, as well as, help keep portions under control later in the day.
Enjoy the Feast!
When it’s finally time to dig in, use a smaller-sized plate to encourage appropriate portion sizes. Fill at least half of that plate with vegetables. Green beans, and Brussels sprouts are two frequently found holiday veggies. Don’t be opposed to bringing along your favorite low-carb food hack, like mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes!
Eat your veggies first along with your protein of choice, for most it’s turkey, for some it’s ham. By starting with protein and vegetables, there will be less stomach space available for other things.
Speaking of other things, the great news is that by limiting your portion sizes and only indulging on special occasions (like Thanksgiving), you can still enjoy your favorite dishes. Choose foods you really love, don’t waste carbs or tummy room for something that isn’t really worth it.
On that note – no, you cannot simply take an extra pill or two and then eat all of the pumpkin pie. That’s not how it works. By over-medicating so that you can over-indulge you wreak havoc on your body.
Your heart for example, can be put under stress from elevated blood pressure. Your liver has to process the excess medication, and the effects are compounded by the likelihood that you will enjoy a holiday cocktail or two. Serious, lasting effects can occur after taking medication differently than prescribed by your physician.
Do yourself a favor – enjoy small portions of your favorites in combination with vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates and fiber.
Savor your meal and focus on how delicious everything tastes. This will slow the pace of your eating and will give your brain time to recognize that you are full. After you finish your first serving, wait 20 minutes. Then ask yourself, “Am I still hungry now?” before dishing up seconds.
Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do imbibe, enjoy it alongside your meal as this will help stabilize your blood sugar. A few alcoholic beverage options include a glass of red wine, dry white wine, or light beer. If you choose to drink hard liquor, mix it with seltzer and a wedge of lime. Stay away from traditional or diet sodas, and fruit juices.
When it comes to the sweets, try delaying your dessert. Wait one hour after you finish your meal, then select your dessert. This will allow time for your meal to settle, allowing you to shrink your portion while still participating in holiday treat traditions.
Check your blood sugar one to two hours after the start of your meal. Make sure your sugar is within a safe range.
Instead of hitting the couch for a nap, go for a walk with the family after your holiday feast. Inspired by the college football game on the TV? Form your own teams and hit the back yard. Physical activity can aid in the digestion of big meals, as well as reduce holiday stress.
Don’t forget that Thanksgiving is about celebrating the joys of life with family and friends. Give thanks and enjoy this holiday season!