3 Quick Tips for Making Thanksgiving Diabetes-Friendly

Turkey that is about to be served on ThanksgivingFor those of you who don’t know, November happens to be National Diabetes Month. Throughout the month, communities and several organizations will be working together to help raise awareness for people living with diabetes (we highly recommend checking out our post about Diabetes Awareness Month from a year ago). As we all know, this month also happens to play host to the most food-centric holiday.

Thanksgiving in the South can include anything from fried turkey to repeated helpings of macaroni and cheese. Don’t get us wrong, this is a wonderful holiday that makes for some warm family memories. However, this feast represents a night full of temptation for someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes.

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to help show you how to make Thanksgiving that much better this year. Here are a few tips to help ensure a more diabetes-friendly holiday:

Take Your Turkey to New Heights

Could it really be a Thanksgiving feast without a generous helping of turkey? The good thing is that you don’t have to skimp on the bird if you are trying to make things healthier this season. In fact, you should play up the turkey! Heighten the flavors without upping the fat content by adding carrots, onions and even sage. A slow roasted turkey is an excellent source of lean protein that won’t raise your blood sugar.

Add in More Veggies

Plate full green beans ready to be cookedThere aren’t many foods on the planet that are better for people battling type 2 diabetes than vegetables. We like to think that you can’t possibly have too many vegetables on the table during a good Thanksgiving. Here are just a few of our favorite vegetables to include during the holidays:

  • Onions
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

Here are two veggie recipes that could make a perfect addition to your table this November:

Green Beans with Chanterelles and Cipollini

Cipollini onions and chanterelle mushrooms are not the cheapest ingredients, but it is Thanksgiving after all! If these aren’t an option, then pearl onions and cremini mushrooms make for perfect substitutes.

Ingredients for this dish include:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound cipollini onions, peeled (halved if large)
  • 2 pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces chanterelle mushrooms,* rinsed, wiped clean, and larger pieces torn into quarters lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

Spinach and Persimmon Salad

Super healthy spinach, crunchy pecans and sweet persimmons combine for what could possibly be the best salad you’ll have on your table this Thanksgiving! Who said that a diabetic diet had to be super restrictive?

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 quarts baby spinach leaves (1 1/4 lb.), rinsed and crisped
  • 3 firm Fuyu persimmons (5 oz. each), peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 3/4 cup glazed pecans

This is a really simple dish to prepare. Mix up sesame oil vinegar and marmalade in a large bowl. Add as much seasoning as you desire. Then add the persimmons, spinach and pecans and mix until the salad dressing evenly coats the ingredients.

Add Fruit to the Desserts

Sweet potatoes can make for an excellent dessert starter. They happen to be low in calories and they are naturally sweet. If you’re not interested in sweet potatoes (or can’t find any), then pumpkins are also a diabetes-friendly basis for fantastic holiday desserts. Things like pears and apples are great to add to the desert list, and these can be topped off with some light whipped cream or even some vanilla yogurt (studies have shown that yogurt would be a great choice).

Here’s a great video on that describes a few diabetic dessert recipes for Thanksgiving:

Last but not least, we strongly recommend getting out there and stretching your legs a little. You might be surprised how pleasant a quick stroll around the block can be after that holiday meal. Diabetes clinical studies have shown that brisk walks have a significant impact on long-term health.



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