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Tips for a "Diabetic Friendly" Thanksgiving

| November 10, 2023


     Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful, watching football, and eating great food. For individuals with diabetes, navigating the holiday feast can be a challenge, as many traditional dishes are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. However, with a little creativity and some smart choices, you can enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving meal that's both safe and satisfying. In this blog post, we'll explore some delectable Thanksgiving foods that are diabetes-friendly, ensuring a holiday season filled with joy and healthy indulgence. 

1. Gobble, Gobble! 

Turkey is a staple for Thanksgiving meals, and it's an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes. It's a lean protein that won't significantly impact blood sugar levels. Just be mindful of the preparation and avoid sugar-laden glazes. Instead, try seasoning with herbs, garlic, and a dash of olive oil for a flavorful, low-carb alternative. 

2. Veggies

Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, green beans, and cauliflower make a fantastic side dish for people with diabetes. These veggies are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an ideal choice. Roasting in olive oil and adding your favorite seasonings enhances their natural flavors without added sugars. 

3. Starch and Carbs Alternatives

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple as well, but they're high in carbohydrates. A diabetes-friendly alternative is mashed cauliflower. Steam or boil cauliflower until tender, then mash it with a little butter and seasoning. It's a lower-carb, equally creamy option that won't cause blood sugar spikes. 

Sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes due to their lower glycemic index. You can prepare a diabetes-friendly sweet potato casserole by using less sugar and adding cinnamon and nutmeg for natural sweetness and flavor. 

     Traditional stuffing can be high in carbohydrates, but you can make a diabetes-friendly version by using whole-grain bread or low-carb alternatives. Load it up with herbs, vegetables, and lean protein to keep it delicious and nutritious. 

4. Gravy & Sauces

Gravy can be heavy on flour and starch, which can raise blood sugar levels. Opt for a lighter gravy by using less flour or a low-carb thickener. Adding herbs and spices can reduce the need for added sugar. 

     Cranberry sauce is a classic Thanksgiving condiment, but store-bought versions are often packed with added sugars. Create your own sugar-free cranberry sauce by using natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol. The tartness of cranberries pairs perfectly with these alternatives. 

5. Dessert

For dessert, select diabetes-friendly options such as sugar-free or fruit-based pies. Pumpkin pie with a nut crust, for example, can be a delicious and lower carb treat. Just remember to enjoy sweets in moderation. 

     Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a challenge for individuals with diabetes. With the right food choices and a little creativity, you can savor a delicious and safe holiday feast. Whether you're indulging in roasted turkey, savory vegetables, or diabetes-friendly twists on classic dishes, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal that nourishes your body while celebrating the spirit of the season. This Thanksgiving, let gratitude and health guide your choices, and you'll have every reason to be thankful. 


***This blog is not meant to treat or diagnose diabetes. It’s about helping reduce your sugar intake from your Thanksgiving menu. ***