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Celebrating With Joy… And Moderation!

Thinking about Thanksgiving—which, in Canada, is celebrated on the second Monday of October—and autumn in general never fails to conjure up plenty of images: the last leaves, children’s red noses, a piping-hot cup of tea, a comfy blanket left on the sofa, a roaring fireplace. And above all, a huge meal with relatives and friends!

But let’s be honest: that meal doesn’t always include healthy options and ideal foods for those living with diabetes. There’s no lack of images for that, too: the huge turkey with its roasted skin and overflowing stuffing, potatoes drowning in butter, the uncle who falls asleep on the couch having drunk a few glasses too many. In fact, almost all holiday celebrations are associated with food and alcohol. Though being diabetic can force you to change the way you celebrate, it certainly doesn’t stop you from doing so!

Partying with moderation

It can never be repeated too many times: better to show some restraint when partying in order to avoid all the problems caused by excesses. This is true for food as well as alcohol, which has a considerable effect on your blood glucose. Drink in moderation, preferably during the meal rather than before it, to slow down the absorption of alcohol. And remember to stay hydrated… with water!

The turkey mainstay and its accomplices

Historians don’t agree on the exact process by which the turkey was consecrated as a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but one thing’s for sure: it is now an icon of that celebration. And there’s no need for you to forgo it! Here are some tips to help you enjoy your meal with total peace of mind.

  • Remove the skin from the turkey to make it less fatty, and prefer white meat.
  • If you can’t imagine Thanksgiving without the traditional cranberry sauce, make it yourself from whole cranberries. It’s sure to be much less sweet than store-bought sauce!
  • Why not replace chips and snack foods with raw veggies? If you want some dip to go with them, go for yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise, which are much higher in fat.
  • Autumn temperatures are perfect for hot soup. You could try making something using seasonal vegetables such as butternut squash and carrots. They make for thick, tasty soup and a lighter, leaner appetizer.
  • Trade potatoes in butter (or fatty gravy) for rice or quinoa.
  • Steamed vegetables make perfect side dishes: light, delicious and full of fibre!
  • For dessert, you could have fruit salad instead of the traditional sugar or pumpkin pie.

Stay active during the long weekend!

If you decide to use the long weekend to go on a Thanksgiving getaway to a cottage or something similar, you might have a great opportunity for some physical activity. Getting active helps control your blood sugar levels by getting your muscles to consume glucose, which removes it from your blood. Of course, take things at your own pace, and remember to measure your blood glucose levels before and after and to have a snack as needed.

Lastly, the best piece of advice is to surround yourself well and to have a good time with your family and friends. Voltaire had the right of it when he said “I’ve chosen to be happy because I’ve been told that it’s good for one’s health.”

Diabetes Canada, “10 Tips for a Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving”: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “Cooking from scratch”: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “The benefits of physical activity”: Accessed September 13, 2017.
Joslin Diabetes Center, “Enjoying Thanksgiving with Diabetes”: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Passeport santé, “Le diabète (vue d’ensemble)”: Accessed September 12, 2017.

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