Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s a certainty that this holiday in 2020 will be unique. For many, there will be no gathering of family or friends, at least in person. For those who do gather, there will likely be extra precautions and unique worries. Either way, this iconic holiday where eating is the focal social event will have some added stress. But whichever way your holiday plans go I have some strategies to share that can help you enjoy the traditional foods and manage your blood glucose effectively. And below I’m posting 7 fantastic recipes. Ready?
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How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays
- Focus on the “must-have” foods – Most likely your family has certain dishes at Thanksgiving that don’t show up any other time of year. Maybe in Maine, they eat cranberries routinely, but chances are you see them once. And that recipe for dressing passed down through generations, the green bean casserole and all things pumpkin – their annual appearance on the 4th Thursday in November is it. These, however, are the foods that define Thanksgiving for you. These are the foods that cement the social bond between generations So, eat them! And lay off the mashed potatoes – you can have those anytime. In fact, lay off of anything that isn’t part of your definition of Thanksgiving Day. Of course, we need to manage portion sizes for carbohydrate foods like dressing, but it is absolutely possible to get the full and complete “taste” of Thanksgiving and manage blood sugar.
- Introduce healthier recipes – Every side dish doesn’t have to be a cracker-topped casserole. Vegetables should be a major component of all our meals, and Thanksgiving is no different. But if you usually have your vegetables straight out of a can or the freezer thinks about being a little more creative. Actually, you don’t even have to think about it – I’m including links at the end of this blog to recipes for seven fantastic side dish recipes – even one casserole – that you can try.
- Take a walk – Exercise is one way to help manage blood sugar levels, so think about a family walk or a football game, or cross country skiing. Using muscles is using the glucose muscles store, and when the stores run low muscles pull glucose from your bloodstream lowering the level of glucose there.
- Watch alcohol and other drinks – Calories, fat, and carbohydrates you get through a straw count the same as the ones you have to chew first. Just remember to manage them – some mixed drinks could be packing 50+ grams of carbohydrate.
- Hide food from yourself – Thanksgiving begins what I call the “eating season.” Over the next five or six weeks, you’ll be constantly confronted with candies, cookies, and who knows what else. If you’re still working remotely it may help, but whatever the case one effective strategy is simply to store tempting foods out of plain sight. We are simply stimulated to eat the food we see. Keeping food out of sight helps temper those impulses.
This year has been, and will probably continue to be, stressful, and stress can drive eating behavior. So, stay mindful – keep track of what you consume, eat slowly, eat healthily, and try to stay busy. Finally, as promised, check out these seven delicious recipes I’ve borrowed from friends and colleagues over the years. These may be just what the doctor ordered.
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