Health + Wellness

Tips to Navigating Thanksgiving Dinner If You Have Diabetes

Thanksgiving dinner

Holiday meals offer an opportunity to indulge in some favorite foods. However, eating a Thanksgiving feast, while still maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, may seem challenging if you have diabetes, but it’s doable, experts say.

Nearly 40 million Americans deal with this issue every day, and not just for holiday meals. Here are some tips on how to navigate the holiday feast.

Don’t skip breakfast

To start: Don’t skip breakfast or try to save your calories and carbohydrates for later in the day. That can just make you hungrier and work against healthy eating later in the day, according to experts at the MOLLY Diabetes Education and Management Center for Adults and Children, a part of Hackensack Meridian Health, in Maywood, N.J.

Instead, eat a healthy breakfast such as a frittata with lots of vegetables or Greek yogurt with nuts.

Think ahead

For the holiday meal, think ahead about which foods you want most. Scan the entire table and decide what you’ll eat and what you won’t.

Grab a smaller plate

A smaller plate can make your plate look fuller while saving some calories.

Fill up on protein

Protein — in this case, turkey — will get you fuller faster. Not only does that have less impact on your blood sugar, but it can lower your carbohydrate cravings. However, you should avoid fried turkey or adding butter.

RELATED: Make A Thanksgiving Plan to Be Healthy

Fill up on non-starchy vegetables

Fill up on non-starchy veggies, such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and celery, and skip dips and gravies.

Choose a healthy drink

Drinking water, tea or seltzer instead of sugar-laden drinks can help you stay on track.

Don’t overindulge on dessert

It’s OK to have a small portion of your favorite dessert — just eat slowly and enjoy it.

Try a healthier substitute

For those who want to enjoy healthier versions of their favorite

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