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5 Diabetic-Friendly Dinner Ideas for Thanksgiving

Couple eating healthy Thanksgiving meal

Let’s face it – the Thanksgiving holiday revolves around food. It’s all about getting together with family or friends to enjoy an indulgent meal. Traditional Thanksgiving dishes, like cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, are chock full of carbs and sugar, which can wreak havoc on a diabetic’s blood sugar levels. Here are some ideas that make it easier for diabetics to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

Diabetic-Friendly Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner

If someone joining you for Thanksgiving dinner is diabetic, you will want to serve diabetic-friendly dishes while maintaining your Thanksgiving traditions. These ideas for holiday dishes can help:

  • Serve a low-carb green bean casserole: Typically, green bean casserole served with Thanksgiving dinner is loaded with breadcrumbs and carbs. For a low-carb variety, try green beans with almond gremolata, made with toasted almonds. You can find the recipe in several locations online, including the Food Network.
  • Make your stuffing with sausage and apples: Stuffing is a carb-heavy, traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Try making it with sausage for protein and fiber-filled apples to promote stable blood sugar. Google “cornbread apple and sausage stuffing” to find a recipe you like.
  • Reduce the sugar in your pumpkin pie: Who can resist a slice of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. This treat will be more diabetic friendly if you use a low-sugar recipe, like this one for ginger pumpkin pie.
  • Adapt your sweet potatoes for diabetics: One idea is to blend sweet potatoes with plain yogurt for a dish with added protein and higher quality carbs to slow absorption, as in this recipe.
  • Swap out the dinner rolls: Try switching traditional rolls for something diabetic friendly, such as these Toasted Pine Nut Herb Pumpkin Muffins.

How to Indulge in Thanksgiving Dinner Without Going Overboard

If you are diabetic, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast along with the rest, using these tricks to properly balance your plate:

  • Go for the turkey first: High-protein, low-carb foods are your best option. Protein digests more slowly with less impact on blood sugar levels.
  • Exercise portion control: Going for smaller portions can help you keep your blood sugar levels balanced during the holiday.
  • Choose the right carbs: Not all carbs are equal. Try to select the ones that come from high-quality plant sources, such as berries, winter squash, sweet potatoes, or quinoa. Fiber in these types of carbs will help slow down digestion and help prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Upgrade your recipes:Small changes in many recipes can make them more diabetes friendly. For example, substituting almond flour (combined with a small amount of tapioca flour to make it bind better) for white flour in a recipe can increase the protein and reduce the carb content of a dish.
  • Get up and move around after your meal:Overeating is what we do at Thanksgiving. If you were no exception, go for a walk to help prevent a blood sugar spike after the heavy meal.

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