Thanksgiving is an American holiday built around a traditional meal that most often consists of turkey and a plethora of high carbohydrate side dishes and desserts. Although many consider the tryptophan in turkey meat responsible for the post-feast nap.. the sleepiness is really caused by an “overdose” of carbohydrate foods including potatoes, stuffing or dressing, corn, sweet potatoes or yams, breads, and desserts (pumpkin or pecan pie and ice cream, anyone?). A typical Thanksgiving meal can easily contain 175 grams of carbohydrate (12 servings at one meal).
Over 60% of US adults (most unknowingly) have insulin imbalance. Consuming an excess of carbohydrate foods cause the majority of adults to experience a rapid rise in blood sugar and a resultant over- release of insulin. This excess insulin causes the high blood sugar generated by the carb feast to be over-ushered into fat cells.
About an hour after the meal, the blood sugar has roller- coastered from very high to lower than normal. These crazy blood sugar swings are responsible for the post meal crash.
After the meal, the majority of adults feel wiped out with fatigue, bloated around the middle, have light-headedness or a vague headache, experience brain fog, and need a nap. Those with diabetes deal with high blood sugar readings that also trigger these uncomfortable symptoms.
Thanksgiving is often celebrated as a gathering of family and friends to share food, give thanks, and watch football. With some simple tweaks to the menu, everyone can enjoy a healthy and delicious meal as well as spend quality time with each other…awake!
Top tips to make this Thanksgiving the start of a new tradition: Healthy Eating!
Watch the clock
Remember that it is healthiest to begin the day by eating within an hour of wake up and avoid having gaps of more than five hours between meals and snacks. (The longer you wait to eat in the morning and waiting over 5 hours without next eating can trigger a blood sugar roller coaster).
Chances are you won’t want a large breakfast on Thanksgiving Day, but it is more unhealthy to skip a meal and save all your carb grams up for one big meal.
Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner Snack Suggestions
A piece of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts
1 light Multigrain English Muffin and natural peanut butter
1 slice of whole grain toast and some cheese
1 light yogurt
6 -8 whole grain crackers with cheese or natural nut butter
1 cup of Cheerios and unsweetened almond milk
Remember to repeat one of these selections within five hours if you are not going to have Thanksgiving Dinner until later in the day. For example; if you have a light breakfast at 7AM, you should have something before noon. ( the five hour mark) This does not mean you must move your Thanksgiving celebration up to noon, it just means you should once again choose a light meal or snack before the five hour mark. This light lunch buys you until 5 PM to eat again and in many cases, the Thanksgiving meal begins somewhere in the late afternoon.
This light meal/snack before Thanksgiving will give you energy, take away cravings, and bring you into dinner time feeling great.
Nibble on raw vegetables with low-fat dip, olives, cheese cubes, or nuts before dinner. These low carb snacks will not boost blood sugar and insulin prior to your meal.
Depending on your particular situation, a drink or two may be fine to ring in the holiday
One drink is considered 5 ounces of wine or champagne, 12 ounces lite beer, or 1.5 ounces of spirits Any of these drink choices will not raise blood sugar or insulin release.
To decrease your carb load, make yours a wine spritzer (½ wine and 1/2 seltzer), replace regular beer with light beer, use sugar free tonic water, and use sugar- free mixers with liquors (rum and diet Coke or diet cranberry juice and vodka).
Remember to ask your health care provider if alcohol is appropriate for your medical profile.
Turkey does not contain carbohydrate. (meat, fish, poultry, soy has no appreciable carbohydrate). If you minimize the skin (just a taste if you must) and stick to white meat, your turkey is a lean, high quality protein source.
Steam chopped cauliflower until soft in chicken broth, drain, and some cream, butter, salt and pepper, maybe even some cheddar cheese, and whip or mash as you would mashed potatoes. By substituting cauliflower for potatoes, you’re subbing a low carb vegetable for a high carbohydrate starch.
Stuffing or Dressing
You can make your favorite homemade turkey stuffing or dressing by utilizing low carb bread. All the other dressing ingredients: broth, butter, eggs, onion, celery, mushrooms, peppers, spices have little impact on blood sugar and by using low carb bread, you can cut your carb intake by one third.
Just cut a loaf into cubes, spread them on a baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings and spices (garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried dill, poultry seasoning) and bake until dry. Then, use your seasoned low carb bread cubes to make your favorite stuffing recipe!
Instead of drowning your green beans in creamy mushroom soup and greasy canned onion rings, creaming pearl onions, or coating sweet potatoes with maple syrup, marshmallows, and brown sugar….consider roasting or steaming these lower carb foods and adding a small amount of olive oil. By eliminating the heavy cream sauces and added sugar, you have made a big dent in your carbohydrate intake.
Because cranberries are naturally tart, cranberry sauce is very high in added sugar. Substitute stevia, sucralose, or erythritol for sugar and convert your cranberry sauce into a low carb turkey accompaniment.
Take 12 ounces fresh cranberries, 1 cup water, 1 cup Splenda (or sugar substitute of choice). Boil until cranberries “pop” their skin, then set aside in the pot until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate. Best made the day before. You just cut your carb grams from
You just saved 45 grams carb per half cup of regularly sweetened cranberry sauce!
Skip them and consider having stuffing in place of, not in addition to dinner rolls. If you crave dinner rolls or bread with Thanksgiving dinner, you can make them with almond flour, soy flour, or ground flax in place of wheat flour. There are many recipes online: simply keyword low carbohydrate bread or dinner roll recipes.
If you are the host or hostess for Thanksgiving or invited to someone else’s home, you can always make a dessert for those watching their carbohydrate intake… including you. There are many online recipes for low carb pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, apple pie, even low carb brownies that use stevia, sucralose, or erythritol in place of added sugar. Most use flour alternatives such as almond flour, ground flax meal, or soy flour in place of wheat flour.
Dinner is Over. How Did You Do?
If you are interested in seeing your post meal blood sugar reading, test your blood glucose about two hours after the start of the meal. Readings of 140mg/dL or lower are generally considered to be in a healthy range.
After such a large meal, it’s natural to want to flop on the sofa and take a nap. Instead of taking a siesta, why not organize those in the family who are interested to join you on a post -Thanksgiving -Dinner lantern walk? If it’s dark outside, take along flashlights and put some reflective tape on your jacket so you can be seen traipsing through the falling leaves. Consider taking a 30 minute walk after dinner to burn excess blood sugar, get some fresh air, continue the conversation, or get some much needed peace and quiet. You might be surprised to find that you are more energized after this walk and when you test your blood sugar, it is certain to be much lower than it would be had you not walked.
If you find that you overindulged at Thanksgiving, all is not lost. Take a walk after the meal and get right back on your meal plan for your next scheduled meal or snack.
Thanksgiving comes but once a year. It should be a time to relax, kick back, enjoy family and friends, and eat a great meal. By making a few recipe substitutions, Thanksgiving can be the start to a healthy and happy holiday season.
Love Diane Kress’ work? Here are links to her books and support site!
The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/The-Metabolism-Miracle-Cookbook-Delicious/dp/0738214256/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0DC5FY8CN1D1YH85YNM
The Metabolism Miracle Update: (Brand new!) http://www.amazon.com/Metabolism-Miracle-Update-Revisions-Diabetes-ebook/dp/B00N4IQUF4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411319947&sr=8-1&keywords=metabolism+miracle+update
The Interactive Support Group for Followers of The Metabolism Miracle and The Diabetes Miracle: www.Miracle-Ville.com