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Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner with Diabetes

Tips for a Enjoying a Healthy Holiday

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Updated November 12, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

You Can Have a Delicious & Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

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Wondering how to enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving dinner when you've got type 2 diabetes? Thanksgiving is a holiday of family, friends and food with dinner as the focal point as everyone gathers around the table to give thanks.

A holiday like Thanksgiving day isn't always easy for someone who has diabetes. Much of the traditional food on the table is rich, and laden with calories and carbohydrates. Many times Thanksgiving day is one long smorgasbord of eating.

How can you enjoy the holiday while watching what you eat? Here are some ideas to get you through.

Help yourself to some turkey.

The turkey itself is actually a very healthy bird. It's a good source of protein, high in niacin, phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B6 and zinc. It is also all protein, no carbs. A three ounce serving of turkey breast meat is just 87 calories, 15 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs.

Don't stuff yourself on stuffing.

The stuffing can pack a calorie, fat and carb wallop. It's dense, usually made with bread, saturated in butter and has more molecular weight than a black hole in outer space. If you have control over how it's made, substituting fat-free chicken broth for the butter goes a long way towards cutting the fat grams. Adding a lot of chopped vegetables to the recipe can also help. If you aren't in charge of making the stuffing, try to keep your helping small, around 1/2 cup.

Make a game plan.

A wide variety of foods make up the typical Thanksgiving dinner. Several kinds of side dishes, lots of old family favorites and many kinds of desserts, are often on the table, beckoning you to try each and every one of them. But, do you have to eat them all? Not if you plan in advance what you're going to eat. Some strategic planning can help you make good choices and keep your carb intake from shooting through the roof. Offer to bring a low calorie dish.. or two.

There are a lot of really delicious low calorie or low carb recipes around. make a few healthy dishes and bring them with you, if you've been invited for Thanksgiving dinner. If Thanksgiving is at your house, so much the better. You have control over what goes into, or stays out of the food.

More Diabetes Friendly Recipes

Start a new tradition.

Take the spotlight off the food. Suggest an after dinner walk around the neighborhood, or play charades or other group activities, to get your blood moving, and to keep you occupied so you don't pick at leftovers, or succumb to that second piece of pie.

With a plan of action, you can embrace the holiday, enjoy the festivities and have a healthy Thanksgiving Day.

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