Like most holidays, food holds a great importance in Thanksgiving as well. Your family may already be making plans for what the Thanksgiving menu will look like – turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, casseroles – the list goes on! But most of these foods are high in calories and may also contain a lot of carbs. Plus eating a family style dinner and many snacks peppered during the day can cause us to lose track of how much we’ve eaten.
If you’re an expectant mother with gestational diabetes, Thanksgiving can be a potential landmine for your blood glucose. Eating without being mindful can cause your blood glucose to soar and that’s a good thing for you or your baby.
Managing your blood glucose around Thanksgiving is all about planning. Here’s how you can have your Thanksgiving turkey and eat it too:
Plan in advance
Speak to your family and make them aware of your condition. Let them know the foods you won’t be able to eat and brainstorm alternatives that can be made for you.
For example, try roasting the turkey instead of frying it and try to keep the sides healthier by steaming veggies instead of making creamy casseroles. Skip on the stuffing or you can also choose to prepare smaller portions of healthier alternatives to the foods for yourself.
Keep the timing of your meal in mind
Thanksgiving dinner can often be eaten at odd times- late or early afternoon- which may affect the timings of the other meals for the day. If you know your meal will be at an odd time, make sure to carry a healthy snack like nuts or a piece of fruit with you to make sure you aren’t hungry. If you are on insulin injections or diabetes medication, you may need to have a snack at your normal meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction. It’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor about how to manage your medication on such days.
Since there is a high chance you will be eating more than usual on Thanksgiving day, it’s a good idea to stay active during that day – this can help keep your blood glucose in range as well. Turn your exercise time into family time by taking a walk with the family around the block or yard.
Keep many low calorie snacks around you during Thanksgiving day to make sure you don’t over eat or go hungry. Veggies and hummus, low fat crackers, fruits and nuts are good options for making sure you are full while you wait for your main meal to be ready. Don’t overdo the snacks and make sure to avoid fried foods like chips.
Make the right food choices
You’ll be exposed to many high carbohydrate foods on Thanksgiving so it’s important to remember portions sizes during your meal. Try “sampling” the menu without eating too much of any high carb dish.
Here are some other tips:
- Eat a healthy and ample breakfast to make sure you aren’t hungry by the time Thanksgiving dinner rolls around.
- Opt for white meat over dark from the turkey and remove the skin.
- Try some healthier alternatives for side dishes like cauliflower “mashed potatoes” or if you make the traditional dishes use low fat ingredients like low-fat milk and olive oil instead of butter.
- Avoid vegetables in creamy side dishes and try to bake or steam veggies like peas, carrots and green beans.
- Try homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries rather than using the canned version which is high in sugar.
- Choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie during dessert or make your own low calorie dessert made with artificial sweetener. For a topping, swap the ice cream and full fat whipped cream with low-fat whipped cream.
- If Thanksgiving dinner is held at your house, make doggy bags for the guests from the left overs. If it’s not at your house, politely refuse to take home any leftovers.