By guest writer Jonathan Jarashow, Publisher of Walgreens Diabetes & You magazine
During my two decades as the publisher of Walgreens Diabetes & You and walgreensdiabetes.com, I published a large collection of articles about the holidays. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to communicate some of the healthy living tips I have picked up over the years from our award-winning staff of writers, which includes two former Diabetes Educator of the Year winners.
So, here goes…
People with diabetes, just like most everyone else in the US, have begun to shop for the foods they plan to cook and share with their family and friends. Every year, families gather together to reconnect, and to reflect on all that has happened since the last Thanksgiving. The holiday is about giving thanks for the wonderful things in our lives - including, hopefully, good health. People with diabetes can stay on track with their weight and blood glucose control by maintaining a diabetes-friendly diet during the feast – at least, as much as their self-control will allow.
Thanksgiving can throw off your meal schedule, since a lot of cooking and socializing takes place throughout the day. People with diabetes can be successful if they make a plan for eating right during the holidays before they get caught up in the festivities. It might be a good idea to bring a few healthy snacks along to ensure that you can put something diabetes-friendly in your stomach at your usual mealtime, even if the people around you aren’t ready to eat. Keeping active, whether by playing an outdoor sport, or taking a walk with a family member or on your own, can also keep the holiday pounds off.
Thanksgiving dinners are notorious for their high-carb content: mashed or sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey stuffing and, of course, most desserts. So focus on the greener things on the table, like vegetables, that are low in starch and calories. These healthy foods will help satisfy your hunger without causing you to crave something sweet and calorie-rich.
Your whole family can also eat healthfully by following your lead on Thanksgiving. Or, they can stuff their faces full of turkey, stuffing, string bean casserole and pecan pie, and leave the table with a bellyache. Everyone has to make smart choices to stay at a healthy weight, to prevent obesity and to be a good role model. Including yours truly.