Five Ways to Create a Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner Table
Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner Table

Ironically, the most food-centric holiday falls during National Diabetes Month every November.

A heaping helping of fried turkey, dressing and gravy, ham, macaroni and cheese, greens and a table of pies and cakes that spans the dining room wall. This is Thanksgiving in the South. It's a table of delight, but if you have diabetes it's a feast full of temptation.

No matter where you live, your Thanksgiving table doesn't have to spell diabetes disaster. Try these tips to create a diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving table:

Play up the turkey. It's the star. Adorn the turkey with aromatics like onions and carrots and fresh sage to create a flavor without additional fat. Slow roasted turkey is a flavorful, lean protein that won't raise your blood sugar.

Volumize with veggies. Vegetables are among the most diabetes-friendly foods on the planet. Add more to the table. Try garlicky green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts and braised collard greens. Fill half your plate with vegetables. Eat them first to leave less room for the higher calorie options.

Put fruit (or vegetables) in the dessert. Naturally sweet, sweet potatoes are a great dessert starter. Because it's so low in calories, pumpkin is another delicious base for desserts. Think pumpkin pie or whipped sweet potato pudding. You can also play up pears and apples with cinnamon and a light whipped cream or dollop of vanilla yogurt.

Focus on flavor. Instead of the packaged stuff, make your own stuffing using fresh celery, onions, sage and thyme to for bold flavor. Go light on the butter and cream and add fresh garlic and vegetable broth to mashed potatoes for deep, satisfying flavor. Add vanilla, extra cinnamon and nutmeg to cut back on the sugar and butter in sweet potato dishes.

Get physical. Moving your muscles can help control blood sugar levels. Go for a morning run or a brisk walk before or after dinner to burn off some of the extra holiday grub.

Remember, Thanksgiving is one day. If you're still eating pumpkin pie on Sunday, you just may have overdone it.