Thanksgiving during a pandemic poses many challenges for us all and more so for those at high risk. It is important to remember to follow the CDC’s guidelines which include ways to celebrate together and virtually.

From the CDC: As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.

On top of the stress of remaining safe this year it is also challenging for people with diabetes who are trying to manage glucose levels and weight.  You want to enjoy the holiday and enjoy the many traditional Thanksgiving foods and with careful planning, you can still enjoy your holiday favorite foods.

Healthier Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving

  • Timing is everything, start the day off with a good breakfast so you won’t be tempted to overeat later on in the day. Timing of meals and snacks is important particularly if you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers your glucose.
  • Choose wisely and be selective to eat those foods that are traditional holiday foods that are only prepared during this special time of year.
  • Nibble on raw vegetables with low-fat dips before your thanksgiving meal rather than salted nuts or cheese and crackers.
  • Choose white meat over dark turkey meat, without the skin.
  • Prepare mashed potatoes with low-fat milk and tub margarine instead of butter.
  • Take it easy with the gravy.  Skim the fat off the top of the gravy before serving.
  • Season steamed vegetables with herbs or lemon juice in place of sauces.
  • Bake stuffing in a casserole dish rather than inside a turkey to limit the fat.  Bake with spices, low-fat broth and tub margarine.
  • Make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries.  Canned cranberry sauce is higher in sugar.
  • If you’re going to drink a glass or two of wine, do it with dinner, rather than starting earlier.  Make a white wine spritzer by mixing seltzer with white wine.
  • Enjoy dessert but have a smaller portion of your favorite pie or dessert. Choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie, or bring your favorite dessert to the family gathering. 
  • Skip the nap after you eat and go for a walk around the block.


Family Support

It can be a challenge to eat healthier on Thanksgiving when you see all of the food and everyone else is overindulging.  It's also difficult if you have “food police” in your family who try to tell you what you can or can’t eat or have someone who wants to load more food on your plate, saying “it’s only once a year.”  

Make your day about togetherness and family fun and not just about the food. 

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.