Having diet restrictions because of diabetes, hypoglycemia, fibromyalgia, or other condition can be frustrating during Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday meal by following these five easy tips.
Thanksgiving Tip #1: Offer to bring your own dishes
If you are not hosting Thanksgiving at your home, volunteer to cook a few dishes. Then you will know what you can enjoy without worrying if your grandmother added three cups of sugar to the pumpkin pie or if your technology happy sister cooked her famous stuffing from a mix she bought at the dollar store.
Thanksgiving Tip #2: Find healthy substitutions
Most recipes allow for flour made of half whole wheat flour and half white flour. Whole wheat flour takes a longer time to digest and does not spike your sugar levels like white flour. Diabetes, hypoglycemia, and even fibromyalgia have been linked to refined foods and preservatives. The more natural you can go, the better. Some recipes even taste great with only whole wheat flour, like muffins and banana bread. Other recipes, like cookies, need to have some white flour to bake properly.
Thanksgiving Tip #3: Substitute sweeteners
Cut the amount of white sugar in every recipe by half and substitute honey, brown sugar, molasses, or dried fruit for extra sweetness. You can cut out the white sugar entirely out of some recipes. If you have diabetes, keep in mind the carb count of the recipe. There are also newer sugar substitutes available, especially for those with diabetes. Be sure to research these sugar substitutes and talk them over with your doctor.
Thanksgiving Tip #4: Cut the salt
Whenever you can, cut the salt from your meal, unless directed otherwise from your doctor. Meals do not have to be less tasty. Seasoning with herbs, spices or adding garlic or onions will bring the taste out in your dish without adding harmful amounts of salt.
Thanksgiving Tip #5: When you can, make from scratch
An easy way to cut out preservatives, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and salt from your Thanksgiving meal is to avoid anything in a box, prepared, or even canned. Cut your stuffing’s sodium down to nearly zero by using homemade bread crumbs and seasoning with herbs and garlic instead of using boxed stuffing mixes. Many mixes boast over twenty to thirty percent of your daily sodium intake per serving! Preservatives may aggravate your hypoglycemia, diabetes, or fibromyalgia. Avoid them if possible.
Bonus Tip: Make a sign
If you are worried about offending someone by doubling the dishes or by offering less sugary fare, make small signs for the dishes, like “sugar-free pumpkin bread,” “diabetic sweet potatoes,” or “sodium free turkey” and place them by the dishes. You will be surprised how many people will dig into your dishes because of their own diet restrictions. You may become the hit of the party!