November is Thanksgiving month, of course, and many of us look forward to time spent with our families, sharing a bountiful table. But it’s also American Diabetes Month, an opportunity for diabetics to recommit to keeping their disease under control. What a tough juxtaposition of November observances! The possibility of soaring blood sugar levels lurks behind every mound of mashed potatoes and each warm slice of pecan pie.
What’s a diabetic to do? Well, for starters, acknowledge that there are challenges in sticking to a safe diet during this food-centric holiday. And then attack them head-on with strategies like these to avoid dangerous spikes in your A1C levels:
- Master the buffet table. Studies show that people load up their plates with more foods from the beginning of a buffet. So set out lower-glycemic foods such as veggies and salad at the beginning. Complete the buffet line with starches such as mashed potatoes and bread. You’ll take less of them. If you’re not hosting, survey the entire buffet before you begin to fill your plate with thoughtfully chosen foods.
- Concentrate on flavor, protein, and fiber. Instead of a stuffing based on cubes of white bread, try wild rice or quinoa stuffing. They’ll have high protein and fiber content to help you stabilize your blood sugar. Or, add a clump of feta or goat cheese to your salad for a satisfying burst of flavor. Again, if you’re not hosting, offer to bring dishes like these.
- Don’t blow it on dessert. Have a little bit of something you really love and enjoy every bite.
Strategies like these can help you get through a traditionally large meal without jeopardizing your blood glucose. Other ideas from Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey, the expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, include not skipping breakfast, incorporating exercise into your day, using a smaller plate, and watching your intake of high-calorie drinks.
You’ll feel better sticking to a healthy diabetes diet this Thanksgiving. And, your feet will thank you for doing all you can to keep them in top shape. One final tip: remember to visit our podiatry office at least once a year for a complete diabetic foot exam. We’re located in beautiful Solon, Ohio, convenient to residents of Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit counties. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.