Stress-Free Diabetic Thanksgiving

How to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner while living with diabetes

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of community, gratefulness, and enjoyment. The last thing anyone wants to think too much about is the health of their plate. However, that is a necessary reality for diabetics during the holiday season and is sometimes a cause for stress. We’ve got you covered with a few tips and some delicious recipes that will take the anxiety out of meal planning and have you looking forward to sharing quality time with family and friends.

Speak up

Tell your friends or family you have diabetes! Don’t be afraid of being a burden. Your host will want you to enjoy your meal, so they’ll be glad you said something. If they don’t know what your diet entails, offer to chat with them about your needs or volunteer to bring some dishes of your own.

Take care of yourself

Don’t fall into the trap of skipping meals to allow for extra carbs and sugar at dinner. Eat regular meals before the big event to keep your blood sugar steady and prevent you from overindulging. Be sure to test your sugar levels and do some exercise; a post-dinner walk could be a great new family tradition!

Enjoy your meal

If you’ve planned ahead, there should be plenty of food at the table you can enjoy. But there are ways to enjoy your dinner even if you don’t have any control over the spread. Try small tastes of things that look great. Sacrifice alcohol and starches early in the meal if you’d like to sample some dessert at the end. Dive into salads and white turkey meat. And, most of all, savor what you eat. Taking the time to enjoy your meal will make you appreciative rather than making you feel like you’re missing out.


We’ve included links to some diabetic friendly recipes you can use to substitute some holiday favorites. Be sure to compare the ingredients with the diet plan you’ve laid out with your doctor, as there is no one-size-fits-all diet for diabetics.

Sage Stuffing

This recipe replaces white bread with whole grains rather than the white bread used in most stuffing recipes.

Cranberry Sauce

Canned cranberry sauce is full of secret ingredients and harmful sugars. This fresh recipe has the zing of the traditional dish without the extra sweeteners.

Cauliflower Mash

A sneaky substitute for mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash is tasty and lower in carbs.

Turkey Pan Gravy

This gravy still contains a bit of flour, but is much lower in fat than your normal gravy and will help liven up your white turkey meat.

Pumpkin Pie

A Thanksgiving staple! This pie replaces flour with almond flour and has less sugar than your family’s recipe.


Remember to enjoy your holiday. The most important part of Thanksgiving is time with friends and family — the rest is just the icing on the (diabetic-friendly) cake!




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