Don’t let diabetes stop you from enjoying Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy your family, friends, and of course-food. However, if you have diabetes, it can pose a problem since many Thanksgiving feasts are full of calories and carbohydrates.

From mashed potatoes full of butter to candied yams, the Thanksgiving table can be hard to navigate with diabetes. Consider the following tips to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and not feel deprived:

— Have a plan for the day

The most important thing to do before the big day is to plan ahead. Write down your goals for the day and what is most important to you. It is likely the things that will be most important won’t be pumpkin pie, it will be making memories with the ones you love, but if food does make the list, add it to your plan.

At the beginning of the celebration, look at all the food, including the appetizers and desserts and decide what you will and won’t be eating that day. Remember, you don’t need to eat a sampling of every side dish or dessert, just your favorite and healthiest choices.

Moderation is also a key to success on the big day. Make sure if high-carbohydrate foods make your game plan, that you only eat small amounts.

— Bring diabetic-friendly dish to pass

If you aren’t in control of the menu for the day, make sure you bring a diabetes-friendly dish-to-pass as a healthier option.

There are plenty of ways to make simple substitutions and online sources can help you transform your Thanksgiving into a healthier eating experience.

You may also want to bring a tray of fresh vegetables with an appropriate dressing so that you have something to grab if you get tempted by other offerings. These are not carb-heavy and will fill you up before the meal.

The great thing about Thanksgiving is turkey can be a good food choice-unless it is fried. It is still important to watch your portions and count your calories and carbohydrates.

— Learn to say no

When your family and friends push food your way, just say no. Food has always been a way that people show their love, but don’t fall into that trap. Just a simple, “No, thank you” will usually work.

–Take leftovers home

There is always so much food left over after a big family meal, don’t be afraid to ask for a doggy-bag. You can take leftovers home and spread your calories and carbohydrates over the next few days, while still enjoying your favorite foods.

— Get moving

The holidays are about doing things as a family, and this time together doesn’t just have to be spent at the table or sitting on the couch watching sports or holiday movies. Consider fun ways to get the family moving throughout the day including signing the family up for a local fitness activity such as a turkey trot or 5K walk, playing football in the yard, or simply going for a walk before or after dinner.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a holiday that centers around food, stick to your goals and enjoy in moderation.


About Dr. Scott Segel

Segel received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Mich. He completed his residency in internal medicine at McGaw Complex-Northwestern University Hospitals, Chicago, Ill. and a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Segel is a Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology and a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine for endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Endocrinology at UPMC Susquehanna is located at 1100 Grampian Blvd., Williamsport. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 570-320-7848.


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