What can diabetics do as they face the challenge of the Thanksgiving meal? Start by surveying the food selections for the meal before making a plate, said Cynthia Ledbetter, MSN, CDE, nurse practitioner at Southern Illinois University Department of Family Medicine.
What can diabetics do as they face the challenge of the Thanksgiving meal?
Start by surveying the food selections for the meal before making a plate, said Cynthia Ledbetter, MSN, CDE, nurse practitioner at Southern Illinois University Department of Family Medicine.
She suggests the plate method:
_Divide the 9-inch plate into three sections;
_Fill the left half with vegetables;
_Fill the top right with protein items;
_Place whole grain starch products in the lower right.
"You can also select a low fat dairy and fruit with your meal," Ledbetter said.
Kathy Levin, RD, CDE, dietitian at Memorial Medical Center, suggests diabetics should watch their portion size when eating the Thanksgiving meal and also stay on their meal schedule.
"It is important for diabetics to not skip meals for the big dinner," Levin said.
She also cautioned diabetics to watch for food that is high in carbohydrates.
"Carbohydrates provide you with energy but raise the blood sugar the most," she said. "Try to keep carbohydrate amounts at a meal no more than 60 grams of carbohydrate."
Foods to watch out for include pumpkin, potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
"If you have these, just take small portions," Levin said.
As far as the turkey goes, avoid the skin, which is high in saturated fats and contributes to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, Levin said.
Casseroles and stuffing are common for Thanksgiving but are high-carbohydrate foods.
Levin stresses again to just take a little. Even a half a cup of a casserole can have 15 grams of carbohydrates and a half cup of stuffing can have 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.
She said that diabetics could fill their plate with hefty portions of low-carbohydrate vegetables such as green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce salad and asparagus and not high-carbohydrate vegetables such as corn, potatoes and peas.
As far as having a dessert, Ledbetter and Levin recommend waiting a bit after the meal.
"Dessert should be a separate snack time," Ledbetter said, "to keep the carbohydrates at the meal manageable."
Exercise after the meal is key to lowering those blood-sugar levels and help the body use its insulin.
"Ask a family member or friend to take a 15- to 30-minute walk with you before or after your Thanksgiving meal," Ledbetter said. "Begin this walk with some light warm-up stretches and end with some cool-down stretches."
"If you do make the Thanksgiving the meal that you are off track," Levin said, "then just make it this one meal and get back on track for the rest of the holiday period."
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