Diets for Diabetics: What to eat on Thanksgiving (Healthy You)

Healthy You

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Biscuits, pecan pie, your aunt’s famous green bean casserole and of course that succulent, savory fresh-out-the-oven turkey; food most people can’t wait to dive into on Thanksgiving, but is this the best nutrition for diabetics?

United Regional diabetes specialist, Laura Gutierrez says diet is a struggle for diabetics in general, not just around the holidays. Last year, Texas ranked 17 among the states with the highest prevalence of diabetes, and Wichita Falls had an even bigger problem.

“Yes, diabetes is very common in Wichita Falls,” says Gutierrez. “We were number two in the state of texas last year I believe.”

Though there is no exact cause, several factors may be behind the reason for diabetes.

“Those at high risk are those who are overweight, over the age of 45, but it can affect children as well. It is more common in certain ethnicities like hispanics, african americans, and pacific islanders.”

Whether you have high or low blood sugar, when you have diabetes, your blood sugar level reflects what you eat. Yet, Gutierrez says not all food at the dinner table is going to be bad. All food can be good at certain portions.

“So half of the plate we want non-starchy vegetables that’s not going to spike your blood sugar, and then a protein, so any kind of meat, and then you have your carbohydrate and there you can decide if you want potoes, maybe you want bread or maybe you have to have that Thanksgiving cookie or Thanksgiving pie.”

Gutierrez also says a big thing with holidays is trying to limit the calories and carbohydrates that you don’t need like soda. So if you’re a diabetic, drink plenty of water and try to get in some exercise, like walking before or after dinner.

Here’s what to limit at Thanksgiving:

  • Carbs like your dinner rolls or pecan pies
  • Too much protein which can be found in the crispy skin of that turkey or holiday ham
  • Dairy which includes that whipped cream on your pie
  • Foods with lots of sugar and fat

The good news is, you don’t have to stay away from these foods altogether is you’re a diabetic. The trick is remembering to dose and test.

“The purpose of testing your blood sugar is to find out if what you’re doing is working. What’s causing my blood sugar to be elevated? Is it related to food? How much medicine do I need to take? Someone who’s on insulin we would recommend testing 3 to 4 times a day before meals and at bedtime.”

For Turkey Day, here’s what to stay on top of:
-portion control
-limit your carbohydrates
-drink plenty of water
-test regularly and dose when you need to

If you need resources for diabetes assistance, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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