Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. We all have our favorite traditions, whether it's football, the Macy’s Day Parade, or gathering with family and friends for a giant feast, food usually plays a major role in how we celebrate each November. For some, the holidays can feel like a time of temptation and risk as they find themselves surrounded by food—and mountains of it. If you have ever felt like the holidays and diabetes just don’t mix, check out our simple healthy eating tips for Thanksgiving which will help you manage your blood sugar, all while enjoying the festivities and eating your favorite foods.
1. Create a Plan Tailored for the Holidays
In short, one of the best Thanksgiving tips for healthy eating we can give is to make and keep a plan. Thanksgiving is known for people skipping morning meals in anticipation of stuffing themselves to the brim, a decision that wouldn’t fare well for your blood sugar management.
Avoid the temptation to overindulge, even if you are surrounded by family and friends who are boasting about just that. And of course, if you already have a diabetes holiday meal plan, do everything you can to maintain that plan as closely as possible. You may have to be flexible and at times make quick decisions, but if you keep that plan in mind, it will help you make healthy eating choices.
2. Meal Times
Be sure to eat as close to your usual meal times as possible to keep your blood sugar regulated at normal levels. If you know what time the family is gathering and it doesn’t coincide with your regular meal time, consider eating a light snack to get by until mealtime. If this is the case, consider eating a little less during the meal once dinner is finally served.
3. Eat a Balanced Meal
For some, this may be difficult if you don’t know what food is going to be served. If you don’t know who is bringing what to the Thanksgiving gathering, ask ahead of time so you know what to expect. That way you aren’t having to make decisions right then and there while your great uncle is trying to tell you the same old jokes again. With this knowledge in advance, you can volunteer to bring a healthy dish that will help balance your meal if you foresee a gap in what is being served.
4. Don’t Forget Portion Control
A part of eating healthy during Thanksgiving, and managing your blood glucose levels, is making sure you don’t overdo it in any categories. Err on the side of smaller portions, and eat slowly, allowing enough time for your brain to get the message when your body is full.
Many professionals recommend starting with vegetables to satisfy your appetite. Once you’ve got some vegetables in you, you may not feel as hungry or desire to eat as much as you did before when the massive feast was first unveiled.
In general, you will want about half your plate to contain non-starchy vegetables like salad, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus. Split the remaining half with ¼ lean proteins like skinless turkey and carbs like grains, potatoes, and bread.
5. Allow Yourself Healthy Portions of Your Favorite Treats
It’s the holidays, and you can still treat yourself and eat healthy around Thanksgiving. It is inevitable that you are going to see some tasty-looking treats during Thanksgiving. Be sure to include these in your plan. Reward yourself with your favorite dish or treat, but make sure to limit yourself to a small portion, and never overdo it. Count these treats in your meal plan and make room for them.
6. Be Mindful of Alcohol Intake
Thanksgiving can be a fun time, and it can also be a stressful time, too. With so many family and friends crammed around one table, you might feel the temptation to drink more than usual. If you have diabetes, or are at risk, consuming alcoholic beverages can be dangerous as it can greatly lower blood sugar or negatively interact with certain medications.
Avoid or limit your alcohol consumption, and be wary of cocktails that might contain sugar-rich liqueurs. Opting for non-mixed drinks like fine wine is generally the better choice if you are concerned. Be sure to only drink with food, and keep a close eye on your blood sugar since alcohol can affect your levels for up to 24 hours.
7. Don’t Forget to Stay Active
Chances are, everyone around you is going to be so full they can hardly move once the meal is through. Don’t let this stop you from taking a brisk walk. Not only will this help regulate your blood sugar it can also help stimulate your metabolism.
8. Get Some Rest
Thanksgiving gatherings and get-togethers can easily run late into the night. Sleep loss can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Not only that, feeling sleep deprived the next day could lead you to overeat. Even during the holidays, make sure to get 7 to 8 hours of rest to ensure that you keep feeling your best.
Supplement Your Health with Brilliant
You don’t have to stress about eating, and can more fully enjoy the company and companionship so often felt during the holidays when you follow these healthy eating tips for Thanksgiving.
You can also consider the benefits of our drug-free Blood Sugar supplement called Level. These capsules are packed with natural, science-backed ingredients which are clinically proven to lower fasting blood sugar levels and protect insulin-producing beta cells from inflammation and damage. Taking level right before the biggest meal of the day, like a Thanksgiving feast, will help keep any post-meal blood sugar spikes within a healthy range.
Level is an excellent way to feel confident about your health this Thanksgiving and for the long term.