Tweaks to holiday traditions and a little planning can help you have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving.
Holiday routines can often mean spending long hours in the kitchen preparing an enormous meal for the entire family, cleaning mountains of dishes, and putting away leftovers. Make sure to take a break, and celebrate Thanksgiving with a healthy makeover fitting for American Diabetes Month.
You might blame tryptophan for your sleepiness. However, sampling too many high-carbohydrate, low-fiber sides is the more likely culprit. Eating foods like mashed potatoes, stuffing and sweet potato casserole sends blood sugar soaring and the pancreas scrambling to produce insulin to help the body turn blood sugar into energy or store for future use.
Strategies for Success
Whether you or loved ones have diabetes or are hoping to avoid the discomfort and weight gain associated with holiday overeating, plan ahead with these tips:
- Eat small, balanced meals or snacks at regular intervals instead of saving all your calories for one large meal.
- Improve the nutrition of a traditional side with healthy substitutions, such as low-fat dairy products and reduced-sugar desserts.
- Limit alcohol consumption and instead favor tea and coffee along with your holiday meal.
- Schedule regular exercise most days to offset extra calories and manage blood sugar levels.
- Watch portions closely, taking smaller amounts if sampling many dishes.
All in the Family
When you know the common and rare diseases that run in your family, you can help your primary healthcare provider take preventive measures and recommend lifestyle choices to improve your health.
This November, take advantage of family get-togethers to compile your family medical history. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving “National Family Health History Day” to help families to learn more about their shared medical history and encourage healthier futures.