6 Strategies for Surviving The Thanksgiving Meal with Diabetes

Feature-Thanksgiving-modern-classics-1200x800Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. No work, no school and full time with my family are all great things, but the real thing I love is the meal. I usually spend the day cooking with family and spend the weeks leading up to it researching recipes (e.g., buying magazines in the grocery store line that have the prettiest pictures of turkeys, side dishes and of course desserts) until I find the ones that are just right.

At our monthly birthday celebration yesterday here at Glooko, we all got to talking about strategies we all use to “survive” Thanksgiving without driving our blood sugar so high that we regret it for the rest of the weekend.

With such a focus on “the meal” we came up with a list of what many of us felt allowed us to really enjoy the meal in years past, but keep our blood sugars decent.  Here are the 6 “getting through the Thanksgiving meal” strategies we came up with:

6 Strategies:

Take a Walk!

We recommend walking! Make it a family tradition to either take a walk just before the meal or just after – maybe as a break before clean-up? Even if everyone gets outside and walks just a few blocks, it will not only feel great, it will help you process the sugars better!

Drink Fizzy Water Before the Meal

A trick that many of us had used when faced with a big meal is an old one for those of us who watch our weight. Just before everyone is called to the table, drink a bottle of fizzy/bubbly water. It fills you up and makes you want to take smaller servings.

¾ to ¼

We kept the math simple (isn’t there enough math in diabetes already?) and agreed that if ¾ of the plate consists of white meat turkey and fresh veggies and ¼ of the plate is made up of the side dishes, we could enjoy all of the good stuff, but not over indulge on the carb heavy food.

Limit Alcohol

Watch the alcohol! Some alcohol (yeast heavy beer) can make you go high, other alcohols can make you go low. With the uncertainty of the impact of alcohol on your blood sugar – limit yourself to one drink…..just drink it slowly!

Use a Small Dessert Plate

Another dieter’s trick – this one is good for people with diabetes too. There is just no way anyone can resist pumpkin pie, pecan pie and at my house, even a chocolate pie or two. Don’t give up Thanksgiving dessert, just have less. If you use a small plate, you can take a small piece of each kind and still not do too much damage.

Look at Last Year

Warning this one is for a Glooko user or other diabetes tracking system user only! Go back to last year and see what your carb intake was and how you did.  By looking retrospectively at your data, you are able to see how you handled past meals and what you can improve. It might mean taking more insulin (if you are on insulin) or lowering your carbs from last year to get a better outcome than in the past – but if you look at what happened last year, you have a better shot at figuring out the best plan for you this Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and stay safe!

Robin Beadle