Thanksgiving with Diabetes: Healthier Ways to Feast

Thanksgiving With FamilyGetting together with beloved family members, football and the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are all time-honored traditions. But let’s face it: when it comes to Thanksgiving, our first thoughts are about the food! In fact, most of us consume well over 2,000 calories during our Turkey Day meals.

For seniors with diabetes, managing the feast without compromising their health can be challenging. Try these tips to help the senior diabetics at your table enjoy the holiday as much as everyone else:

  • Exercise portion control. Filling the dinner plate to overflowing, and going back for seconds and thirds, is a surefire way to throw off any diet, and can be especially dangerous for diabetics. Before the meal is served, try this free online Create Your Plate app to plan appropriate types and portions of a variety of foods.
  • Know the facts. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole – you can count on these Thanksgiving standbys to make an appearance. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy these holiday favorites in a healthier way:
    • Turkey: High in protein and with no carbs, serving size should be the size of your palm, roasted rather than deep fried, and with skin removed.
    • Stuffing: Full of carbs (typically 15-30 grams per ½ cup serving), a healthier alternative is to include more veggies and less bread, and to prepare the stuffing with whole grain rather than white bread.
    • Potatoes: These can also really pack in the carbs, along with saturated fat if butter, cheese or cream are added in. Skip the sour cream in favor of non-fat Greek yogurt, or opt for sweet potatoes, which are delicious on their own or with a limited amount of sugar and butter.
    • Green bean casserole: Although the beans themselves are healthy, this dish includes unhealthy fats from creamy soups, fried onions, and butter. Choosing alternative non-starchy veggies without the sauce is a healthier alternative.

With a little pre-planning and self-control, Thanksgiving for diabetic seniors can still offer the opportunity for a bit of indulgence, without the ensuing health complications from overdoing it.

At Nightingale Homecare, we love preparing healthy meals for the seniors in our care, and are thankful for the opportunity to provide the professional Phoenix home care services that keep Arizona seniors safe and healthy, during the holidays and throughout the year! Particularly for seniors who may be isolated from extended family, we can offer the companionship and sense of family to make the holidays an enjoyable, less lonely time of year. We invite you to call us any time at 602-504-1555 for a free in-home assessment, and to learn more about helping your senior loved ones gain a renewed sense of joy and wellbeing!