Navigating Thanksgiving with Diabetes

Helping those with diabetes manage the holiday season

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful. It’s also a day for family, football, and food. Navigating a wide array of holiday treats may feel overwhelming or too difficult to handle. For people living with diabetes, this challenge can impact more than just the waistline; it can impact their health as well.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the US. Over 30 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, and another 70 million with pre-diabetes. With one in four people affected by diabetes, someone at your holiday celebration is likely dealing with this challenge.

Our Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), Tracy Tinker, RN, MSN, CDE, CNL, has pulled together some simple tips and tricks for navigating the holidays.


Bring a Veggie

If you are going to someone else’s home for a celebration that includes food, offer to bring a vegetable dish. This way you know there is always something you can put on your plate.


My Favorite Dish

If your favorite dish is carbohydrate-based, remember to have small portions, such as a “sliver” of pumpkin pie. Portion control is the most critical role in diabetes management.


Raise a Glass

Don’t drink your calories. It is best to avoid high sugar drinks. Stick to water or seltzer if you need some bubbles in your cup.


Check Your Sugar

Check your blood sugar before the meal and one to two hours after eating. Use this to help guide an appropriate portion size. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that “after-meal blood sugar” (one to two hours after eating) should be 180 or less.


Make a Plan

Map out your plan in advance. Mentally run through moments that might be a challenge and how you will respond. Decide in advance which of your favorites are worth the small portion taste and which don’t make the cut. Planning and preparation put you in control.


In the end, stick to your plan, indulge (just a little), and take control of the holiday smorgasbord. Lamprey Health Care’s Certified Diabetic Educator is available for patients who are interested in learning more about diabetes management and education. To meet with Tracy, talk with your provider at your next appointment.