Diabetes Self-Management Blog

I’m taking a break this week from my spice series since it’s almost Thanksgiving. What usually happens at this time of year is that magazines and Web sites feature articles on how hard it is for people to manage their diabetes, their weight, etc., during the holidays. And while that may be true, reading this information year after year (unless you’ve tuned it out by now) may leave you with a sour feeling — how can you enjoy the holidays when you’re being told to eat this and not that, or eat less of this, or check your blood glucose more often, or go for a walk, or get plenty of rest…all good advice, but I imagine that it wears a little thin after a while.

So, this week, I decided to focus on a few items from the traditional Thanksgiving meal and all the good things that they can bring us. Do you still need to watch portions and count carohydrate? Is it still a good idea to go for a walk after indulging? Well, yes, but you can take some comfort in the fact that you ate some pretty healthful foods and that you did your body good!

Chances are, turkey will be featured in some form at your Thanksgiving table. Turkey (actually wild turkey) was introduced to the Pilgrims by the Indians that first Thanksgiving in 1621. Turkeys became so popular thereafter that Ben Franklin pushed to have turkey be the national bird (it lost out to the bald eagle). We can at least be thankful that a fattier protein source wasn’t gracing the table. Here’s what turkey offers:

  • Excellent source of protein
  • Low in total and saturated fat
  • Low in sodium
  • Very good source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B3, phosphorous, and potassium
  • Contains tryptophan, an amino acid thought to promote relaxation and sleep

Four ounces of turkey breast, without the skin, contains 150 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrate, and 34 grams of protein.

Most stuffing recipes aren’t all that healthy. That’s because they’re often made with butter or turkey drippings, eggs and sausage are sometimes added, and the sodium content might be high due to chicken broth. But you can give stuffing some redeeming nutritional qualities by doing the following:

  • Using whole-grain bread crumbs instead of white bread crumbs
  • Using olive oil or canola oil instead of butter
  • Adding some chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery
  • Using a low-sodium chicken broth

Check out this recipe for “healthified stuffing,” which includes nutrition information, from the Web site eatbetteramerica.com

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables around, so hopefully they’re featured in your Thanksgiving meal. Sweet potatoes come in various colors, but we’re most familiar with the deep orange variety. Here’s what you’ll find in this delicious root vegetable:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Iron

Not only are sweet potatoes good for your heart, eyes, and digestive tract, they can even keep your skin healthy and younger-looking, too, thanks to their beta-carotene content. But watch the toppings; the gooey, sweet marshmallows that people often pile on top obviously aren’t the best choice. This year, why not leave off the carbohydrate-laden topping and try a new spin? I found this recipe on Epicurious.com. Not only does it look easy to make, it seems pretty healthful, too.

By the way, one-half cup of baked sweet potato contains 90 calories, barely any fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fiber. Not too shabby!

Cranberries, which are native to my part of the country, are highly nutritious. Sure, they’re hard and tart, but thanks to their antioxidant content, they can lower LDL (&lquo;bad”) cholesterol, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, prevent heart disease and cancer, save your eyesight, prevent urinary tract infections and ulcers, and even help fight off food poisoning from pathogens. What more could you ask of a berry? Granted, canned, jellied cranberry sauce (yes, I admit, I like this!) is cranberries doctored up with high-fructose corn syrup. But making your own cranberry sauce is quick, easy, and lower in carbohydrate than the canned variety. Check out this recipe from Cooking Light.

This year, think about the foods on your Thanksgiving table. Maybe there are ways to prepare them more healthfully, or maybe you start a new tradition with something totally different. Whatever you decide, think about what each food has to offer (all foods have something!), be thankful, and have a peaceful and enjoyable holiday!


  1. We have already had our thanksgiving diner. Next year I am going to make myself abscent since it is a horrific experience for diabetics unless you eat only turkey and throw the rest out the dining room window. The dog was smarter than me he is a strict Atkins man but still overate and slept all of the next day.

    Posted by CalgaryDiabetic |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

Nutrition & Meal Planning
Hype or Healthy? Ezekiel Bread and Whey Protein (10/20/14)
Hype or Healthy? Chia Pudding and Bulletproof Coffee (10/14/14)
Low-Carb Diet Improves Quality of Life in Type 2 Diabetes (10/07/14)
Soup Really Is Good Food (10/06/14)



Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.

Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring — Part 3: Smart Monitoring

10 Keys to Long-Term Weight Loss

Take Your Best Shot: Stay Up to Date on Vaccines

Complete table of contents
Subscription questions