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Kaylor: November is American Diabetes Month

By Staff | Nov 21, 2014

The holidays are typically filled with parties, celebrations and family gatherings. But the spotlight on food and eating during the holiday season can be challenging, especially for families dealing with diabetes. November is American Diabetes Month and Thanksgiving can be a time of great anxiety for people with diabetes because it is so focused on food. This year, plan in advance to take the guesswork and stress out of Thanksgiving, so you can fully enjoy the day and keep your diabetes management on track. Check out the following tips to help you have a healthier Thanksgiving holiday. Meal timing


Many families eat holiday meals at odd times of the day. For some, the Thanksgiving meal may not happen until mid-afternoon. Plan in advance and make adjustments if the meal doesn’t line up with your regular meal schedule. If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood glucose, a snack may be needed at your normal meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction. Check with your healthcare team about this and discuss an eating plan with them.

Don’t skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to “save” calories and carbohydrates for the feast later on. Skipping meals makes it harder to keep your blood glucose in control and arriving hungry may increase your chances of overeating.

Be more active

One reason people have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is a lack of physical activity. A good way to make up for eating more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition this year that involves getting more physical activity and doing things that don’t involve food. It is never too late to be physically active. Find others who are trying to be active, join a group for exercise or support or find a walking buddy, and work together to reach your goals. Aim for 30 minutes on most days.

Bring what you like

Bring what you like to the party or gathering. Instead of spending time getting worried about what will be on the menu, offer to bring your favorite diabetes-friendly dish. It could be a low-sugar or low-fat version of a traditional recipe or something new and different to spice up the holidays.

This year, try picking out your favorite foods or dishes and pass on the other options. If stuffing is your favorite, then pass on the rolls. Have sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes instead of putting both on your plate. If you want to sample more than just your favorites make your portions smaller. If you plan on having dessert, reduce or cut out another carbohydrate food during the main course. Remember not to pile up your plate on the first round, eat slowly, enjoy the meal, and resist going back for seconds.

The most important thing about managing diabetes during the holiday season is to plan ahead. Schedule time for physical activity on most days this holiday season. Talk to your healthcare team ahead of time if you need to make adjustments in your medication or insulin because of the timing of holiday meals or travel. Manage holiday stress by sorting out your plans in advance.

By: Lisa Franzen-Castle, RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist UNL Panhandle Research & Ext. Center


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow or white onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

lb. ground turkey

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. chili powder

1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes

2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

c. water

tsp. pepper

c. reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

Cilantro sprigs for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until vegetables are tender. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, cumin and chili powder. Cook and stir for one minute. Add tomatoes (with liquid), beans, water and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Source: Foodwise Calendar

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