25 Tips for Managing Diabetes on Thanksgiving

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Oh, you know how all these articles begin: “There’s nothing more challenging than managing diabetes during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.

Sure, it’s true: It ain’t easy. But you know what: It ain’t impossible either.

There are many things you can do to enjoy this food-focused holiday even if your body is lacking in the Insulin Department. (My own Insulin Department went out of business in 1999….)

The fact is you can make a variety of adjustments in your medications as needed, you can swap and trade your carb choices carefully, you can cook unique recipes, and of course, you can fill up on turkey and green beans and forgo the potatoes and the cranberry sauce and the pies and cookies.

The point is: You have options. And feeling like the poor ol’ diabetic who doesn’t get to enjoy Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be one those of options.

Here are tips and strategies from our Facebook community on enjoying the holiday season as a person with any type of diabetes:

“Test. Test. Test! Don’t sacrifice your favorites! Manage diabetes around them and be HAPPY!” – Kayte
“Will just have turkey and green beans with gravy and low-carb pumpkin pie. Good enough for me and no bad spike.” – Jody
“Being real careful with starches! Following the plate method.” – Louise
“I am pretty disciplined every day with my diet as I manage my T2 with diet alone. However, I plan on enjoying Thanksgiving dinner! Just the dinner, not the entire day!” – Donnie
“I pick one thing to enjoy and shun the rest.” – Sysy
“I eat small portions of food and plenty of water afterward, diet soda doesn’t always help either. Always take my before-meal insulin but take a few more units according to what I’m eating. That helps to keep my numbers in a healthy normal range and stay under 140 mg/dL.” – Kenya
“Test often and eat in moderation.” – Tom
“I make sure I have plenty of vegetables and turkey. A little carbs but not too much.” – Rhonda
“Test a lot!” – Tracy
“Enjoy a little treat but don’t go mad! Relax, it’s not every week. Test a little more often and up your insulin if needed.” – Helen
“Extended bolus for those on a pump! Dual-wave bolus or a square-bolus is my best friend during holidays!” – Vanessa
“Eat what I want and take more insulin.” – Stephanie
“Eat whatever you want as long as you bolus enough of insulin to cover for the food. Fill your plate with more turkey and green beans. In one cup, fit the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, and try to be between 50-65 grams of carbs for that day.” – Raissa
“Stay with protein (turkey), good vegetables (broccoli, etc), and only a tablespoon of stuffing or cranberry sauce. Plenty of water or tea. Use the tablespoon method for unhealthy desserts if really craving, otherwise fresh fruit, cheese, and raw veggies. Keep portion control in mind, count carbs, and test as needed. Can still enjoy the holiday! It’s really all about family, friends, and being thankful!” – Sherri
“I eat the same no matter what day it is! Everything in moderation, portion control … including dessert! Been doing it over 30 years and can’t see a reason to change it … it works.” – Linda
“Talk to your doctor and be honest. Tell them how you plan to eat. That’s what I do.” – Ashley
“Moderation … as it should always be.” – Kris
“Keep yourself active. Walk 5 km a day. Eat carefully. Not too much fried food. And don’t stress. All will be okay. Try it out.” – Sunil
“Stay the course! Stick to what works!” – Paul
“Eat like a king, then get back on the diet after. Holidays are fine cheat times. And stay away from sugary drinks. No cheating with those.” – Neal
“Find some tasty recipes in a low-carb group.” – Sandy
“Count carbs, same as any other day.” – Becca
“Extra insulin.” – Kathy
“Keep carbs to the minimum and test often.” – Tara
“Test test and be active.” – Mustafa

Most importantly: remember to check your blood sugar! Even if you’ve personally decided to eat with abandon and let your blood sugar run higher that day, it’s still important to keep an eye on it and know where you’re at. Check, check, check.


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